Staying connected while travelling just got a whole lot easier – and cheaper. Starting at the beginning of February, 2015, all Hyatt locations will be offering free WiFi access to all guests. This is great news for travelling families looking to keep the kids entertained during downtime, or for those who want to check flights and book the next day’s activities from their hotel room.
The free access was previously limited to guests who were members of Hyatt’s reward option, known as the “Gold Passport” loyalty program. The shift in policy comes with an announcement that the popular chain, with over 500 locations worldwide, now sees internet connectivity as an integral part of travel and a “basic expectation” as opposed to an amenity.
Besides the fact that guests need no longer be a member of Hyatt’s reward program to enjoy the free access, the policy applies to guests whether they book directly through Hyatt or through a booking site such as Travelocity or Priceline.
- Marriott offers free access to all Marriott Rewards members as of the beginning of 2015. Previously this was limited to members of the upper tiers of the program, however, now anyone signing up for the free rewards program can enjoy the benefit. For this deal, guests must book directly through Marriott.
- InterContinental Hotel Group (which includes a number of brands including Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn and more) offers free WiFi to all members of its loyalty program, regardless of tier status.
- Starwood Hotels will begin offering free WiFi to all loyalty program members as of February 2nd, 2015 – no matter what program level the guest belongs to.
While Hyatt now has these other brands beat by not requiring membership in their rewards program (and allowing guests to book through their choice of service) it is important to note that all of the aforementioned loyalty programs are free to join, they just require a little planning and legwork.
Even more important is the trend towards Internet access as an amenity as opposed to a luxury, as more and more brands seem to be getting on board with customers’ requests for included access in their hotel stays.
Not to put a down note on such an exciting development, but it should be noted that Hyatt has announced, along with free access to all guests, free premium Internet upgrades to diamond and platinum tier rewards members. This will allow faster access than the standard WiFi to upper level rewards members. Be on the lookout as this may be another new trend in the hospitality industry: free or cheap access to all on a slower bandwidth, and a premium price or requirement for the fastest Internet access. This would go along with new trends we have reported in hotels breaking down service into smaller components, and charging for “add ons” or upgrades.
Only time will tell, but for now we are excited about Hyatt’s new policy and look forward to other hotel chains following suit!
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