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More big cities make wi-fi free for travelers

Hoteliers: If you rely on revenue from Internet fees, you need to know about the article that Travel Weekly just published.

Travel Weekly’s Danny King reported that a growing number of large cities are now making Wi-Fi free in bustling tourist areas – where hotels tend to be located. That means hotel guests will have more options if they don’t want to pay their hotel’s Wi-Fi fee. This trend, documented by Travel Weekly, has the potential to make more hotel guests view a property’s Internet access fee as “unfair,” which could lead to more negative reviews or mentions.

Keep in mind that “Wi-Fi” is a touchy subject for travelers, especially frequent, budget-conscious business travelers. Hoteliers who track online consumer reviews already know that Wi-Fi is often a source of complaint if it costs the guest extra or doesn’t work properly. An analysis of hundreds of thousands of reviews by ReviewPro reveals that the broad term of “Internet” is a common “negative” mention across major cities such as Edinburgh, Moscow and Mexico City.

Why is this happening? King writes that cities – like hotels – want to make a good impression to travelers. They want to “increase their appeal to tech-dependent travelers for whom connectivity increasingly is crucial,” he writes.

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Check out Travel Weekly’s full story, but if you don’t have time to read it right now, here’s the list of cities cited in the article that are offering free Wi-Fi to the public in targeted areas:

  • Las Vegas, the city with the most hotel rooms in the USA, has free Wi-Fi in parts of the city
  • New York, the USA’s most expensive hotel city, now offers free Wi-Fi in Times Square and 50 parks throughout the boroughs
  • Minneapolis has almost 120 hotspots throughout the city
  • San Francisco, in a deal with Google, is providing free Wi-Fi in more than 30 parks and plazas
  • Tel Aviv, described as “the Silicon Valley of the Middle East,” next month will launch free Wi-Fi citywide including along its beaches

The story cites a survey by online travel agency Hotels.com earlier this year that says guests voted Wi-Fi as their No. 1 must-have hotel amenity. Nearly 40% of Hotels.com respondents said that free Wi-Fi was a factor in their booking decision.

Check out ReviewPro’s free guide to responding to guest reviews.