June 11, 2014 - Hotel WiFi Test compared the WiFi services in the biggest hotel chains around the world. Two characteristics of WiFi were considered: whether it’s free and whether it’s fast.
It is far more practical to base a comparison on hotel chains, rather than on geographical factors. This chain-specific information allows travelers to make the smartest choice for their needs. On the other hand, knowing the percentage of hotels offering free and fast WiFi in a given city is not particularly useful, since the travel destination is usually fixed, whereas the choice of accommodation is not.
When data are plotted on a chart, it is easy to see that most hotel chains form a rather predictable cluster. Independent hotels are at the edge of this cluster; there is a lower chance of independent hotels offering free WiFi, but the speed is typically above average. This cluster illustrates a fact well known to seasoned travelers: hotel WiFi is usually free and slow.
The plot chart also reveals two obvious and counter-intuitive exceptions. In one of the cheapest hotel chains, Quality, WiFi is usually free and demonstrated the fastest WiFi speed of the evaluated hotel chains. In contrast, a much more “upscale” chain, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, offers free WiFi at a very limited number of properties. Since the typical room price is much higher at Marriot and WiFi costs extra, most people would expect lightning-fast speeds for their WiFi connection. Unfortunately, this is not the case; WiFi at Marriot properties is not significantly faster than the WiFi at independent hotels, nor at various other chains that frequently offer WiFi for free. To put it simply, in a number of less expensive hotels, WiFi is faster and free, as opposed to Marriott, where WiFi is comparatively slow and costs extra. Travelers that happen to be loyal to the Marriott brand would be better off staying in Courtyard by Marriott, especially in the United States. WiFi will most likely be free and even a bit faster than in Marriott Hotels and Resorts.
The two other relatively high-end hotel chains are not far from Marriott’s WiFi standards. Sheraton offers free WiFi a bit more often, but it is notably slower. At Hilton Hotels and Resorts, chances of having free WiFi are about the same as at Marriott, although the speed will be significantly higher.
Of course, if a traveler has time to research a hotel before booking, there is no need to take any chances when it comes to staying connected. This is particularly true for cities with a wide range of tested hotels. For example, in New York there are 142 hotels with tested WiFi, which means that travelers have a very good chance of finding a hotel that suits their requirements and provides WiFi with which they are satisfied.
This press release outlines the key finding of the research. Specific chain names and more precise data points can be found on the interactive graph. Journalists working on related articles can contact Hotel WiFi Test for more details and additional data.
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