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The tide is certainly changing as travelers are making choices based upon accessibility.
Britain’s hotels are among the worst in Europe when it comes to providing free Wi-Fi for guests, new research has shown.
Although free Wi-Fi is available in most bars and cafes – and even branches of McDonalds – hotels have historically been more reticent to offer the service. But a survey of thousands of hotels across the Continent found that around 90 per cent now offer free access.
However, UK hotels still appear to be lagging behind their European counterparts. Of the 10 worst cities for free Wi-Fi, three – Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester – are British. On average, just 64 per cent of hotels in Manchester were found to offer it.
Telegraph Travel was quickly able to uncover 10 UK hotels or hotel chains that still charge guests, with fees as high as £6 for a single hour’s access, or £20 for 24 hours (see table below).
German cities also fares badly in the study, carried out by Kayak, the travel search engine, with Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin all among the bottom ten. Milan in Italy and Lugano in Switzerland completed the roll of shame.
The two best performing cities were both Swedish – Malmö and Gothenburg, where 98 per cent and 96 per cent of hotels were found to offer free Wi-Fi. Toulouse, Istanbul, Stockholm, Saragossa, Adana, St Petersburg, Lyon and Seville completed the top 10.
“In an age of mobile phones, laptops and constant connectivity, any savvy traveller should check out whether their hotel offers free Wi-Fi before they check-in,” said Annie Wilson, Kayak’s managing director. “This new data may make people think twice about their perceptions of the hospitality offerings in different European destinations.”
When Telegraph Travel looked at the issue of Wi-Fi charges back in 2012, TalkTalk, the internet service provider, estimated that the cost to a business, such as a hotel, of providing broadband, would range from just £10 a month for a small property to around £300 a month for a 100-room property, or £700 a month for a larger, 300-room property.
Last year, however, Alex Polizzi explained why some hotels charge for Wi-Fi, citing high set-up costs and inflexible contracts.
Meanwhile, Jurys Inn announced this week that it will no longer charge guests for internet access. The hotel group has 25 properties across the UK.
10 UK Hotels That Still Charge for Wi-Fi
Hilton Park Lane – £20 for 24 hours
InterContinental London Park Lane – £15 for 24 hours – members or premium guests (those booked into suites, for example) get free Wi-Fi
W London Leicester Square – one-hour complimentary, then £15.95 for 24 hours
Travelodge (UK-wide) – 30 minutes free, then £3 for 24 hours
Holiday Inn (UK-wide) – free at some branches and to members, but charges apply at others, including its London Mayfair hotel – £16 for 24 hours.
The Dorchester – £19.50 for high-speed option, free otherwise
Liverpool Marriott Hotel City Centre – In-room Wi-Fi is £6 per hour, £15 for 24 hours
Premier Inn (UK-wide) – 30 minutes free, £3 for 24 hours
Ibis (UK-wide) – £3 per day for high-speed, free otherwise
The Lowry, Manchester – £15 per day for high-speed, free otherwise
Ten Best Cities for Free Wi-Fi
Malmö, Sweden – 98 per cent of hotels offer free Wi-Fi
Gothenburg, Sweden – 96 per cent
Toulouse, France – 96 per cent
Istanbul, Turkey – 95 per cent
Stockholm, Sweden – 94 per cent
Saragossa, Spain – 94 per cent
Adana, Turkey – 93 per cent
St Petersburg, Russia – 92 per cent
Lyon, France – 92 per cent
Seville, Spain – 91 per cent
Ten Worst Cities for Free Wi-Fi
Cologne, Germany – 63 per cent
Manchester, United Kingdom – 64 per cent
Lugano, Switzerland – 65 per cent
Munich, Germany – 65 per cent
Frankfurt, Germany – 65 per cent
Milan, Italy – 65 per cent
Hamburg, Germany – 71 per cent
Berlin, Germany – 72 per cent
Liverpool, United Kingdom – 72 per cent
Birmingham, United Kingdom – 72 per cent