Free Wi-Fi at hotels within NACC’s room block can be harder to get, Collins says. Many hotels want to offer it, but some are stuck in long-term contracts with vendors to provide Wi-Fi so they have to charge for it, says Collins. Others have more flexibility to offer it for free as part of their room rate—like the Galt House Hotel and Suites in Louisville. Those that do offer it free are at a competitive advantage, says Collins. “It drives business for them,” prompting people stay there, and hang out in the lobbies and restaurants. Conversely, it could hurt those that charge $9.95 or $12.95 a day because attendees don’t want to be nickled-and-dimed, he adds.

Free guestroom Internet has become one of the chief demands of meeting attendees, according to surveys. Consequently, it’s something that more planners are asking for, including MaryAnne Bobrow, principal, Bobrow and Associates, a Citrus Heights, Calif.–based association management company. If she can’t get it for attendees for free, she will negotiate it into the room rate so the perception of attendees is that it’s complimentary.