Skift Take

Hotels that align themselves with free Wi-Fi will quickly be recognized by business travelers, making the cost worth the marketing value for most business brands.

Hyatt Hotels announced today that it would begin providing free Wi-Fi in guest rooms and public spaces at all Hyatt hotels worldwide as of February 2015.

The rollout will include all hotel brands, including the select-service Hyatt Place properties and up through its premium Park Hyatt offering. Use of Wi-Fi will not be limited to members of its loyalty programs, as was previously done at some brands. Hyatt Gold Passport members will have access to premium Wi-Fi service at some properties.

“Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation,” said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt, in a statement. “Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”

The decision appears generous in comparison to other hotel brands’ grip on free Wi-Fi access.

In October, Marriott International announced plans to provide free standard Wi-Fi to members of its loyalty program, Marriott Rewards. Members, however, will still have to pay between $5 and $7, depending on the property, to be upgraded to enhanced Wi-Fi needed for downloading large files or streaming media.

Many other brands including Hilton and Accor offer a tiered Wi-Fi fee structure in which basic service is free and upgraded faster service comes at a cost.

In a survey Skift conducted with American Express in August, free Wi-Fi was the number one criteria for selecting a hotel among self-identified business travelers.


Related: Skift recently spoke to Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian about guests’ changing demands, why he changed employees’ on-boarding process, and how the hotel is using social media to drive engagement internally and externally.

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Tags: amenities, hyatt, wi-fi

Photo credit: Grand Hyatt New York. Hyatt Hotels

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