Hotel WiFi Test ranks hotel chains


May 27, 2015

This report focuses on WiFi quality in hotel chains. Two characteristics of hotel WiFi are considered: the quality of the WiFi and whether in-room WiFi is free.

The chain to which a hotel belongs to is one of the best predictors of WiFi performance. Therefore, when travelers know how hotel chains are ranked overall, they can choose a specific hotel with better WiFi even if they don't have information about the WiFi quality in that hotel.

WiFi Quality is expressed by the percentage of hotels that offer adequate WiFi quality in a given geographical area. This type of ranking is easy to understand, and it makes perfect sense from a practical standpoint. For most travelers, having super-fast and consistently stable WiFi is a great bonus, but their first priority is ensuring that basic quality expectations for Internet access are met.

Also, this is a more robust approach than measuring the average speed, as such calculations can be misleading because of a few of hotels that have extremely fast WiFi and many hotels with horrible WiFi. The median speed is a bit better for this purpose than the average speed, but it can still give misleading expectations.

In this report, a hotel judged as having adequate WiFi must provide an expected download speed of at least 3 Mbps (the Netflix recommendation for SD-quality streaming) and an upload speed of 500 kbps (the Skype recommendation for high-quality non-HD video calling).

The Free WiFi percentage is calculated as a ratio of hotels that offer free in-room WiFi to all hotels for which the WiFi price structure and availability is known. In our view, hotel WiFi is a synonym for in-room WiFi; therefore, hotels that offer free WiFi only in public areas are not counted as hotels with free WiFi. Some hotels provide free WiFi for members of their loyalty programs, but require regular guests to pay for WiFi. We don’t count this as free WiFi.

In this report, hotels are ranked according to WiFi quality; the percentage of free WiFi is given for reference. Although free WiFi is extremely important, this problem can be mitigated. Information detailing whether WiFi is free at a given hotel is available at most booking websites, and even if you end up at a hotel offering only paid WiFi, you can fix the situation by paying for WiFi access. On the contrary, information about WiFi quality is not available on most booking websites, and if you end up at a hotel with poor WiFi, you have no way to fix it even if you are willing to pay for better WiFi.

Global rankings

For the global chain rankings, we took the 50 most-tested hotel chains worldwide and sorted them according to WiFi quality. Thus, some hotel chains are not on the list because they do not have enough tested hotels, not because of the poor quality of their WiFi. Further, each position in the ratings is relative to the other most-tested hotel chains and not to all hotel chains.

For example, the Marriott is ranked tenth out of 50 hotel chains, which means that it is in the 81st percentile: 19% of all hotel chains have better hotel WiFi, and 81% of them have worse hotel WiFi. Therefore, if we ranked over 50 hotel chains, more than nine could have better hotel WiFi than the Marriott, but some of them were not tested thoroughly enough to be ranked in this report.

Key takeaways

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United States

For the chain rankings in the United States, we took the 25 most-tested hotel chains worldwide and sorted them according to WiFi quality. Thus, some hotel chains are not on the list because they do not have enough tested hotels, not because of the poor quality of their WiFi. Further, each position in the ratings is relative to the other most-tested hotel chains and not to all hotel chains.

For example, Best Western is ranked fifth out of 25 hotel chains, which means that it is in the 82nd percentile: 18% of all hotel chains have better hotel WiFi, and 82% of them have worse hotel WiFi. Therefore, if we ranked over 25 hotel chains in the United States, more than four could have better hotel WiFi than Best Western, but some of them were not tested thoroughly enough to be ranked in this report.

Key takeaways

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Europe

For the chain rankings in Europe, we took the 25 most-tested hotel chains worldwide and sorted them according to WiFi quality. Thus, some hotel chains are not on the list because they do not have enough tested hotels, not because of the poor quality of their WiFi. Further, each position in the ratings is relative to the other most-tested hotel chains and not to all hotel chains.

For example, DoubleTree by Hilton is ranked fifth out of 25 hotel chains, which means that it is in the 82nd percentile: 18% of all hotel chains have better hotel WiFi, and 82% of them have worse hotel WiFi. Therefore, if we ranked over 25 hotel chains in Europe, more than four could have better hotel WiFi than DoubleTree by Hilton, but some of them were not tested thoroughly enough to be ranked in this report.

Key takeaways

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Asia

For the chain rankings in Asia, we took the 15 most-tested hotel chains worldwide and sorted them according to WiFi quality. Thus, some hotel chains are not on the list because they do not have enough tested hotels, not because of the poor quality of their WiFi. Further, each position in the ratings is relative to the other most-tested hotel chains and not to all hotel chains.

For example, Hilton is ranked 8th out of 15 hotel chains, which means that it is in the 50th percentile: 50% of all hotel chains have better hotel WiFi, and 50% of them have worse hotel WiFi. Therefore, if we ranked over 15 hotel chains in Asia, more than seven could have better hotel WiFi than Hilton, but some of them were not tested thoroughly enough to be ranked in this report.

Key takeaways

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For hotel managers

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