Hotels that continue to charge guests to access the internet have been criticised, with new research suggesting chain hotels are more likely to impose the heftiest fees.
With a large number of bars, cafés, and even branches of McDonald's and Starbucks now offering free wi-fi to customers, many hotels appear less willing to do so Photo: ALAMY
The Hilton chain, for example, imposes an average charge of £15 for a single day's wi-fi access, while Holiday Inn charges guests £13 per day, according to the study. Crowne Plaza imposes a £10 fee, on average, for 24 hour's access at its properties, and Jurys Inn charges guests £8 per day.
By contrast, the research highlighted several independent hotels - including the St James Hotel and Club in London, Fairlawns Hotel and Spa in Birmingham, The Shelbourne in Dublin, and The Merchant in Belfast - that provide their guests with free internet access.
The survey, carried out by Gogobot, a travel review website, also revealed that travellers in London often face the highest charges. The London Hilton, for example, charges guests £20 for 24 hour's access, but at the company's hotels in Belfast, Glasgow and Liverpool the fee is £15, and at its Manchester hotel, it is £14. Similarly, 24 hour's access costs £9.99 at the Crowne Plaza London, but just £7.50 at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool.
Other hotels found to impose high fees were the Intercontinental London Park Lane, the Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh, and The Lowry in Manchester. All three charge guests £15 for 24 hour's access.
"In a time when internet access is as necessary to many hotel guests as hot-running water, it's surprising that high-end hotels are treating it like an add-on," said Kelly Lees, general manager in Europe for Gogobot. "Our users have reviewed many of the hotels listed in the survey and we see that wi-fi charges negatively impact the ratings given."
Her comments were supported by a recent poll of 8,600 travellers by Hotels.com, which suggested that just 11 per cent of hotel guests are willing to pay for wi-fi.
With a large number of bars, cafés, and even branches of McDonald's and Starbucks now offering free wi-fi to customers, many hotels appear less willing to do so, even when guests pay hundreds of pounds a night for a room.