Hilton Hotels may eventually offer free Internet to every guest, but using a reduced-speed service that’s fast enough only for email and the Web.
If you want a high-speed connection – for watching online video and downloading large files – you’ll have to pay for it.
“We’ve looked at that, we’ve talked a lot about it but, we haven’t decided one way or the other” says Ashley Spencer, Hilton Worldwide’s Vice President of Operations for Australia.
If such a two-speed model were adopted it would be applied worldwide, Spencer told Australian Business Traveller.
“That would be an all-of-Hilton decision because we want a level of global consistency and because (Internet) is such an important component of what we are all about.
Hilton recently introduced free wi-fi as a perk for Gold and Diamond members of the chain’s Hilton HHonours loyalty program “and we’ve seen an exponential increase in the number of Gold and Diamond members staying with us” Spencer reports.
But there’s really no such thing as ‘free’ Internet: somewhere along the line, somebody has to pay for it.
“In a lot of the hotels we don’t own the Internet infrastructure so we need a quid-pro-quo” Spencer explains. “And also I’m not sure the infrastructure we have in the hotels would cope if we gave the Internet away way for free.”
Spencer recounts stories of hotels which have offered free Internet to all guests “and they have had far more issues than when they were charging for it, because there is just not enough bandwidth to deal with what everybody tried to do, and that includes downloading movies and TV shows.”
“There’s a fine balance to be had, and at the end of the day if we can continue to offer enough speed and a real quality level of connectivity, a reasonable business traveller doesn’t expect to get all that for nothing.”
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.