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Should Hotels That Charge for Wi-Fi Be Boycotted?

By Brad Tuttle
updated February 21, 2017
Courtesy <a href="http://mybt.budgettravel.com/service/displayKickPlace.kickAction?u=4573938&amp;as=21864&amp;b=" target="_blank">joecruz/myBudgetTravel</a>

In today's world, it makes less sense than ever for guests to be charged hefty fees for Wi-Fi access in their hotels.

A few months back, David Rowan, the editor of Wired UK, wrote a column imploring all hotels to offer basic Wi-Fi to guests for free, and suggesting that travelers simply stop staying at the hotels that continue charging for the service. Rowan understands that hotels incur costs for setting up and maintaining Wi-Fi networks. But everyone can also understand that the costs don't justify the exorbitant rates some hotels charge for Wi-Fi access: $40 a day at the Ritz in London? Seriously?

Based on the widespread availability of free Wi-Fi—in hotels, airports, restaurants, and more—it seems silly for some hotels to keep charging for it. As Rowan writes:

If the local McDonald's or Starbucks can offer Wi-Fi for free, then why can't the world's top hotel chains? Because the current rip-off is unsustainable.

Perhaps, the argument should instead be that it's silly for hotel guests to keep paying for a service that's complimentary in so many other places.

The funny thing about Wi-Fi charges is that they're far more likely to appear at upscale hotels, where guests might otherwise reasonably assume that one reason they're paying more is that they're getting more for their money. That assumption would be dead wrong. Mid-level chains such as Microtel and Wingate Inns have been offering free Wi-Fi for years, as do Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta, and other brands.

The truth is that the guests staying at ritzier hotels are more likely to not care or not notice extra charges for things like Wi-Fi, and so these are the hotels that continue to charge for it.

But perhaps the days of this fee revenue stream are numbered. In a recent travel convention, Rowan told travelers they should simply stop giving their business to hotels that insist on charging for Wi-Fi. In today's world, such charges are unfair, and unjustifiable, Rowan said:

It’s like being charged to have a bath run then getting in and it's cold. Then you’re told if you want a hot bath it’s going to cost extra.

Will you join the boycott? Have you already basically been boycotting such establishments for years?


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