Only a few short years ago, T1 access in a hotel’s ballroom and guest rooms was still a pretty neat story. Today, Wi-Fi is the buzz, and lately we’ve been blitzed with major announcements from hotel chains pushing into the wireless arena. Here’s a rundown.
February 3: Omni Hotels announces it will have free wireless high-speed Internet access in guest rooms and some public space in 30 of its 32 owned and managed properties by year’s end. (Repeat: It’s free and it’s in the guest rooms.) Six of the chain’s hotels (New York; Chicago; Los Angeles; Irving, Texas; and two properties in Houston) already support wireless technology, while the balance are currently served by wired high-speed solutions.
February 27: In conjunction with Intel, which is rolling out a new technology called Centrino that allows wireless connection capabilities to be built into laptop and notebook computers, Marriott International commits to bringing wireless hot spots to 200 additional hotels this spring. The chain already has wireless access at about 200 properties—typically in the lobbies and/or meeting spaces. Marriott’s pricing for wireless access in the U.S. is $2.95 for the first 15 minutes and $0.25 for each additional minute.
March 5: Hilton Hotels & Resorts says it will have high-speed wireless hot spots in 50 hotels in the next 30 days (in meeting rooms and public spaces), and promises high-speed access in all of the brand’s 230 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Like Marriott, Hilton made its announcement in conjunction with Intel, co-Centrino mobile technology.
March 11: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts announces a wireless pilot program at its properties in Chicago and Houston. Access is available in public areas, and members of its loyalty and recognition programs get free access for one hour a day during their stay.
March 13: Intel is also marketing Centrino with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which announced the completion of wireless installations in all 41 of its properties. Hot spots—up to six per hotel—are in public areas.