A recent USA Today article
details the current trend of hotel management offering free lobby Wi-Fi to guests and non-guests. Even hotels that will continue to charge for in-room Internet, have decided to take the plunge to roll out free access in common areas.
According to a senior Marriott executive who spoke to USA Today’s reporter, Barbara De Lollis, more than 300 Marriott Hotels & Resorts locations will flip the switch in the coming weeks on free lobby Wi-Fi to please guests and non-guests alike. Wi-Fi currently is free in the lobbies of about 185 of Marriott's nearly 500 hotels, such as the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina and it will become standard across all hotels by March 31, says Marriott's Michael Dail.
The article notes that some owners of upscale hotels predicted this would be the future. Sunstone Hotel Investors, for instance, began making Wi-Fi free in the lobbies of its Marriott-brand hotels starting about three years ago as they were updated, says Marc Hoffman, the company's executive vice president. The company owns Marriott hotels in Boston, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., and Park City, Utah.
The article also reveals that for some hotel companies, free Wi-Fi in common areas is old news. Wi-Fi, for instance, has been free in the lobbies of the 300-location Doubletree by Hilton chain since 2005. And last year, the 550-location Hilton chain made it free, says spokeswoman Dasha Ross. Starwood's Sheraton chain also offers free Wi-Fi in its lobbies.
To read the article in its entirety, click here