Checking In To Wi-Fi Hotels
By David Pescovitz, Wed May 19 16:00:00 GMT 2004
Wireless access is shifting from an amenity to a requirement for many hotels.
According to a Pyramid Research report, 6,000 hotels around the world provide wireless Internet access, compared to 2,500 last year. By 2007, they expect 25,000 hotels to offer Wi-Fi.
"Wi-Fi is quickly becoming a 'must have' amenity for mid-size and larger hotels," the report's author, John Yunker, said in a press release. "In addition, many hotel chains are now offering Wi-Fi access for free, which is driving usage and forcing competitive chains to follow along. Even hotels that have begun offering Wi-Fi for free are making money from the service through higher occupancy rates."
Forbes.com has an article about the growth, including a survey of the wireless broadband offerings of various hotels. The article explains that mid-priced chains like Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels are leading the Wi-Fi charge in an effort to satisfy their legions of business traveler customers. According to Yunker, luxury establishments like the Four Seasons aren't willing to shell out even the minimal cash for Wi-Fi when they may have just finished outfitting rooms with high-speed ethernet.
They'll fire up those hotspots soon enough. And if they're smart, they won't charge a dime for connectivity.
"The hotel industry was more or less forced to jump on the Wi-Fi bandwagon," Hotel Business magazine's Jerry Merkin said in Forbes. "Customers were demanding it, and if a hotel didn't have it, they went elsewhere."