When you book that hotel, motel or holiday-rental house like an AirBnB, it may be worth inquiring about the kind of Wi-Fi service the venue has. This is more so where they advertise the availability of Wi-Fi as a headline feature.
In some of these venues, you may come across situations that may impact your online life during your stay.
For example, you may come across a short-term holiday rental that is set up with an el-cheapo Internet-service plan where there isn’t much in the way of included data allowance and the use of multimedia content like Netflix, Internet radio or YouTube; or IP-based voice and video telephony by guests may chew through this allowance. Similarly, the facility may only be provided with a connection that doesn’t have much in the way of bandwidth, a reality with properties located out of major towns.
Hotels and similar locations can have their fair share of Wi-Fi Internet limitations. For example, they could include baseline Wi-Fi Internet for one device as part of the accommodation deal but charge extra for higher bandwidth or concurrent use of more devices. Or you may find that it is an optional extra that is charged for separately.
Similarly you may find that the hotel’s Internet service underperforms during peak occupancy especially when many guests are streaming online multimedia content like Netflix concurrently.
Some of us may see this as a deal-maker or deal-breaker when it comes to booking that accommodation facility depending on what level of priority we give to Internet access while on the road. It may be more important when we engage in videocalling as a way to “touch base”, upload photos to an online album or social media, or enjoy online video content during the evening. As well, it can be of concern where multiple people like a family are using the connection concurrently.
The venue may also see your interest in its guest-access Internet as a way to improve their offering especially when they are in a position to “re-contract” their Internet service to a better tariff. If they are in a truly-competitive market, they could easily end up placing the service on a tariff that offers a “better bang for the buck”. This is by offering more bandwidth and data usage (where applicable) for the same amount that they previously paid or for less.
As well, it may appeal to rental-premises owners who want to see value in renting out their short-let venue for longer periods at a time. It can also help them to court the business community who may use these places as a base to stay while doing business in the local area.
Similarly, an accommodation venue can see their guests’ interest in the quality of their on-site Internet service amenity as an excuse to invest in the associated Wi-Fi and other local-network infrastructure. This can be about filling in Wi-Fi “dead spots” with extra access points or reworking the network for higher throughput such as using equipment with newer Wi-Fi and Ethernet specificcations.
It is still worth it to raise questions about the Internet service you may end up with while on the road. This is because it can benefit both you and the venue owner in various ways.
Article written in January 2020, updated in January 2023 to factor in the local network aspect for guest-amenity Wi-Fi networks.