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Paid wifi in hotels…

It’s not the first time I rant about this on my blog, but I hate it when hotels charge you extra for wifi. I normally avoid hotels that charge for wifi, but it seems all the top hotels in New York still do so. When in Europe I only stay in hotels that offer free wifi, I even call up the hotel in advance to check on this. Same in San Francisco or actually in most places that I travel to. The 3 or 4 star hotels generally provide wifi for free nowadays, especially in Asia or in the US, but less so in Europe. But many 5-star hotels still think they can get away with charging crazy amounts of money for Internet.

I am now staying at the Millenium Broadway hotel  in New York overlooking Times Square. A nice hotel with spacious rooms where I pay something like USD 400 per night (without breakfast or even a free newspaper). No problem, but then don’t charge me an additional USD 12.95 per day for wifi – per device!

When I stayed in the Marriott on Times Square 2 months ago the wifi also cost money, but at least there you could use up to 3 devices. And in the end they waived my wifi fees because there were some connection problems. But the Millenium charges me for every single device (I have 4 wifi devices with me, and Grace 3). I hate it. I don’t care about the money, but having to pay for this feels like robbery. Just charge me USD 30-50 more per night and give me unlimited wifi for all my devices, but don’t ask me to pay every 24 for hours for my computers, phones and tablets.

I don’t have much choice in NYC it seems, but because of this it is very unlikely I will stay at Millenium hotels in other parts of the world in the future. The luxury hotel chains don’t realize they lose a lot more money in the long run than they earn in the short run from charging wifi fees. Or maybe they earn less in the short run as well, they may have more guests when they would be customer friendly and offer free Internet. There are so many other business people like me that complain about this, but high-end hotels don’t seem to get the message yet. Dear hotels: This is the 21st century and Internet is a commodity now, just like water and electricity.

I plan to forward this post to the hotel as well, but of course don’t expect a reaction. 

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  1. Marc, I hate paying for wifi too in hotels, but this is purely a marketing savvy from these expensive hotel. They are know there is little price sensitivity at this level of hotel prices, hence what is $12, $20 or $30 more on a $450 room, less than 5%, or 10% at best? that’s merely a tip. The cheaper the hotels, the more lilekly you are to find free wifi, inversely (that’s why I never go to Novotel, Sofitel etc when I travel within China and choose cheaper brands :-))

  2. a typo? i think the “wife” should be “wifi”.

    No problem, but then don’t charge me an additional USD 12.95 per day for wife – per device!

  3. Thanks Adam, indeed a typo 🙂 Changed it right away!

  4. Marc, simple solution for this..

    WIRED CONNECTION: Plug in 1 mac, switch on internet sharing and off you go. All the other devices will go through your puter.

    WIFI CONNECTION: Hmm havent tried that one, but some options could be to switch on internet sharing via ethernet, then plug cable in and connect to other computer and share that one… or plug in a small wifi router (fon or so) and you got your own wifi.

  5. Marcel, thanks for the suggestion. With a wired connection you can indeed do that, I just set it up and am now online on my iPhone through my laptop. The solution for wifi I am not sure about, but luckily this room has an ethernet cable I could plug in. Thanks, should have thought about this myself 🙂

  6. I actually don’t mind that they charge for wifi. I personally prefer not to use the internet in my room when I’m on business so I do like having the option to pay for it if I need it. They would be charging me for something I don’t use if they include it in the room rate.

  7. I guess you are the exception to the rule 🙂 Following your line of thought: I never watch TV, so I would not mind hotels charging for TV instead of putting the price into the room rate. The cost of watching TV is fixed for the hotel: whether someone watches no TV or watches 24 hours a day TV makes no material difference, just like whether someone is online through the hotel network or not. It’s a fixed monthly cost, which for Internet would probably work out to be less than a dollar per room per night. The hotel is only overcharging for Internet because they still can. Things will change eventually, and I am sure they will then find something else to overcharge customers for.

  8. Although charging for internet is a stupid move on part of the hotel if you buy one plan for a Mac and set up Internet Sharing you can use that Mac as a mobile hotspot (if you mac doesnt have dual-wifi set up you can use a jailbroken iOs to repeat). Then you pay for one $12.95 account and have you own hotspot. In addition to this man hotels will charge for wifi for but some reason Ethernet is free, same one Mac Internet Sharing plan works.

  9. Easy solution: Go online with your iPhone 4 and then use the personal hotspot feature to connect (I guess) up to 5 devices via the iPhone. Next time you are in such a situation! 🙂