These days, all travelers are connected travelers. Access to the Internet and to email are no longer luxuries—they’re necessities. And the availability of Wi-Fi is only the beginning; it must also be free, and fast.
A new study by Hotel Wi-Fi Test, a “leading company for collecting, analyzing and distributing data about WiFi quality in hotels around the world,” confirmed that the highest-priced hotel brands are among the worst when it comes to delivering the combination of price and speed that customers want, and that independent and lower-priced hotels generally do much better.
Among the hotels tested, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, for example, offered fairly high-speed Wi-Fi, but at fewer than 25 percent of its properties. Courtyard, a cheaper network of hotels within the Marriott portfolio, offered free WiFi at almost all of its properties, and at speeds that were on average slightly faster than those recorded at the pricier Marriott hotels.
So at least where Wi-Fi is concerned, the Marriott business model would seem to be: Pay more, get less. That disrespects both the intelligence and the pocketbooks of Marriott’s customers.
Elsewhere, Comfort Inn and Quality Inn are both part of the Choice Hotels family of brands. Both feature free Wi-Fi at most locations, but while the speeds at Comfort Inn are just middling, averaging between 4 and 8 Mbps, Quality Inn’s are among the highest of any brand, at any price.
Days Inn and Howard Johnson, both members of the Wyndham network of hotels, also boasted widely available free Wi-Fi, at speeds comparable to Comfort Inn’s.
Independent hotels fared well overall, with free Wi-Fi at nearly 75 percent of tested hotels, and download speeds averaging around 10 Mbps.
Although there are exceptions, the general rule is a paradoxical one: The more you pay, the less you get. And until that changes, the lesson for hotel customers is clear: Spend less to get more.
Reader Reality Check
How do you feel about hotel Wi-Fi pricing and speed?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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