From the horse’s mouth
Increasingly hotel users are demanding access to Wi-Fi Internet service but a lot of big-name American hotel chains favoured by business travellers weren’t providing this for free. This was typically provided by independent operators or some European, Australian or other hotel chains. If you did want Wi-Fi without paying extra, you had to “look further” such as booking directly with whoever you were staying with.
This same amenity may be provided by some hotels as part of a frequent-lodger program usually if you were at one of the “elite” tiers in that program. Or it may be integrated in to one or more business-focused “bed-and-breakfast” or “half-board” package deals or available to people who rent a club or concierge-level room. Increasingly hotels are offering free Wi-Fi “across the board” to guests who stay there but this has been limited to one device per room which doesn’t cater for the reality that most of us will maintain two or three devices such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Hyatt have become the first of the big-name American hotel chains to offer free Wi-Fi service to an unlimited number of devices per room on an “across-the-board” basis. This is available in the Hyatt and Andaz brands along with the various Hyatt-derivative brands like Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt; and is to be available around the world from February 14 2015.
They are offering it independently of the booking path you use to book your room there or whether you participate in their Gold Passport frequent-lodger program. For those of you who are on this plan and are at either the Diamond or Platinum elite levels, Hyatt are replacing the free Internet access that was the “elite advantage” with access to the premium-grade Internet service. Regular users will still be able to purchase that same premium-grade Internet service which will most likely offer a higher bandwidth.
Guests can use this Wi-Fi internet service “upstairs” and “downstairs” i.e. their rooms or the social spaces like the lounges, bars and lobbies. This has been driven by guest demand for Internet service not to be treated as a luxury but to be like what the are used to at home or work.
Personally, I would like to see the premium Wi-Fi service more in the form of something that can play nicely with devices of the Chromecast Apple TV, and Sonos ilk. where there is the feasibility to operate them in your room as if you are running the equivalent of a home network with a room-specific ESSID. This could play in with the basic-tier offering public-access Wi-Fi “around the place” using a facility-wide ESSID and, preferably, Wi-Fi Passpoint authentication. The premium Wi-Fi service could be offered as “standard faire” for long-term stays or to those of us who rent certain suites.
At least Hyatt is breaking the mould associated with American hotel chains where they nickel-and-dime their guests for essential public Internet access or place onerous limitations on this service for most of us who carry along two or three gadgets. It could be a chance for the rest of them to answer Hyatt by offering similar-standard baseline Internet access.