Loews Hotels to offer free Wi-Fi in all guest rooms
The New York-based luxury hotel chain says every guest room at each of its 18 properties throughout North America will now be equipped with complimentary wireless Internet access.
“We look at it as a service our guests at Loews expect because they are getting it at home,” says Paul Whetsell, president and CEO of Loews. “I don’t think it’s sustainable to keep charging for it.”
Loews properties had been charging from $14.99 to $20 a day for Wi-Fi, depending on the market. Most of their lobbies had complimentary Wi-Fi. Now all of them will in addition to the guest room Internet.
Those guests who use an excessive amount of bandwidth will still incur a charge, however.
Several studies have shown that free Wi-Fi is one of the most coveted amenities among hotel guests. In a Hotels.com survey of 8,600 travelers worldwide, just 11% said they would be willing to pay for Wi-Fi when staying in a hotel.
Yet the hotel industry has been slow to offer it as an amenity, particularly at the luxury level.
“It’s been a revenue source and when something new comes out, typically you have the ability to charge something for that,” Whetsell says. “As time goes on and that service or amenity becomes more standard in the guest ‘s mind and it is expected, then it becomes more difficult to do that.”
There are signs that the industry is headed toward easing up on its practice of charging for Wi-Fi.
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