Posted by: Sarah Lee | December 4, 2009

Find a free wifi hotel

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Two weeks ago I posted in support of a growing campaign to see more hotels offer free wifi to guests – you can read that post here. To help people locate a hotel offering guests this basic-level service I started a twitter list.

The list is growing and there are a few brands on it, from the exclusive to the budget conscious, offering free wifi across their chain of hotels. Red Carnation, Best Western, Days Inn and City Inn, for example, deserve particular recognition. Some other chains on the list just offer free wifi in certain of their hotels – so best to check before booking.

The list has some limitations – it only covers hotels with a twitter profile that I’ve discovered so far, but I hope it will become much more comprehensive so please tweet me @sarahleetravels if you know of any or work at a hotel and want to be added.

The biggest problem I’ve found in compiling the list was one highlighted by another free wifi campaigner @eurapart who said: “Bizarre – hotels on Twitter should be more aware of the need for free wifi yet it’s the ones not on Twitter that offer it”.

It is perhaps one of the strangest scenarios. Any hotel worth its social media salt should recognise the value of a tweet, status update or blog post. I’m not even the most prolific of social networkers, but take a look at my own online activities – I have 1,800 or more followers on twitter, a blog, a Facebook profile, Friendfeed, Linkedin, Tripadvisor, Flickr, Ecademy and YouTube accounts . I like good service and tend to give praise where it’s due. So if I like your hotel I’d like to get straight online and tell the world about it on one of the aforementioned formats. I won’t do it if I have to pay extortionate rates for wifi. Simple.

As an example: earlier this week I went for afternoon tea at a London hotel, beforehand we had a really good glass of mulled wine in one of its bars and were quite taken with the surroundings, so I attempted to tweet about it. Wifi cost £14 for 24 hours use. So I took a rain check.

So if you’re a hotel engaging with guests via social media (and really, you ought to be!) you should be backing this up by offering free wifi.

Wifi shouldn’t be an exclusive extra because you’re staying at a five-star or boutique hotel nor should you be exploited because you’re on a budget. Wifi has become a modern-day necessity so hotels should include it in their pricing structure and stop charging guests inflated rates.

For more on the whole topic check out London Hotel Insight’s posts – the latest one directed at Travelodge and Premier Travel Inn is here.

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