Tiered Wi-Fi Emerges as New Industry Model
After seeing complimentary Wi-Fi service become ubiquitous at limited- and select-service hotels, owner-operators of full-service properties are now facing growing pressures from consumers and brands to provide a tiered program that features free, property-wide basic service while charging for premium broadband access.
"What we're seeing now is more brands responding to consumer demand, because there has been a clear indication from consumers that basic connectivity is something they now expect us to provide (at no cost)," said Bill DeForrest, president and CEO of Chicago-based Spire Hospitality, which manages 22 properties including two full-service hotels under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.
For the past decade, full-service hotels largely resisted growing consumer demands for complimentary Wi-Fi because paid Internet service represented a significant revenue stream for large properties in major cities, said Mark Carrier, president of B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, which owns and/or manages 20 properties in the United States, including some full-service hotels.
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