Hotels urged to offer two-tier Wi-Fi model after Marriott blocking U-turn

Hotels urged to offer two-tier Wi-Fi model after Marriott blocking U-turn

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Global hotel giant Marriott has reversed a decision to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots in its properties.

The chain was fined in the US last year after it emerged it was blocking access to Wi-Fi in a Nashville hotel.

In a statement the firm said: “Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels.”

Previously it had claimed it was only interested in blocking Wi-Fi in conference centres and meeting points.

The US Federal Communications Commission found Marriott was charging conference attendees between $250 and $1,000 per device for Wi-Fi.

It justified the policy on the basis of guest data security and interference to its own Wi-Fi coverage.

However, following a public backlash the policy has now been ditched.

Jonathan Hallatt, regional director for NETGEAR, said: “It’s interesting to see that Marriott International has made a U-turn on its decision to block guests from using personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

“The fact that it made the choice to block personal Wi-Fi access in the first place was a very bold move, particularly given that many guests now prioritise Wi-Fi availability when choosing their hotel.

“It is clear why Marriott made the decision to block personal hotspots. Wi-Fi access now provides a lucrative revenue stream for many hotels, so if guests are using their own hotspots, hotels are missing out on revenue.

“Rather than providing guests with Wi-Fi access on only a paid for basis, hotels should adopt a two-tier access model, whereby guests are offered a basic slow-speed or timed connection for free, or a faster option at a small cost.

“This way, guests still have access to Wi-Fi, so won’t need to use personal hotspots, while hotels still have an opportunity to gain additional revenue through the premium service, without running the risk of losing customers.”

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