I was perusing some older USA Today Hotel Check In posts, and the one about hotel wifi caught my eye. Apparently, wifi usage at hotels has jumped dramatically—50% during a 9-month period in 2011 alone! Guests are connecting multiple devices, and streaming videos and live content in addition to the less bandwidth heavy email checking. As a result, some hotels are trying out tiered pricing options, and charging for a faster speed. According to the survey that they did, 66% of travelers are okay with a slower hotel wireless internet connection, as long as it’s free, and only 8% said they would pay extra for a faster connection.
My thoughts? It depends on several factors. If I’m on a personal trip, it is highly unlikely I will pay for wifi if there is a free option available, regardless of how slow it is. If it completely stops working, I can usually do any needed internet stuff on my phone. For a work trip, I typically don’t have time to stream content, and will really only do basic email and web surfing. The difference is that on a business trip I have to have internet, and if it stops working it is a problem. In that case, I would certainly pay for better service. And of course, my company would reimburse me.
A few tips to get the best out of your hotel wifi:
- Join the club. I have stayed in several hotels where club members get free internet, regardless of status level. It’s definitely worth a shot, especially at nicer hotels which can charge upwards of $10-15 per day.
- Go to the lobby. Even if internet is not free in your hotel room, there is a good chance it will be free in the lobby. And if it is free in your room but it’s super slow, the connection speed is often better in the lobby.
- Bring an Ethernet cord. Just in case the free wifi doesn’t work at all, a lot of places offer wired internet. This is where your travel Ethernet cord comes in handy. There are all sizes available, including this cool space saving retractable one.
Readers, what do you think? Would you pay more for a better internet connection? What are your tips for hotel wifi?