View from the Wing has a nice rundown of the “gotchas” of the free hotel Internet fad that’s currently sweeping the nation. For Hilton:
[Hilton] emailed this morning to say they’re going to offer free internet starting in August:
- To Blue and Silver HHonors members (Gold and Diamond already get free internet). In other words, program membership is necessary, this will help them build their member file.
- Who book through a Hilton channel or through corporate travel partners. This helps them reign in distribution costs, creating a reason for customers not tied to their points program to book direct instead of their paying commissions to Expedia, Orbitz, etc.
- Diamond members will get unthrottled internet speeds starting in the second quarter. (Hyatt and Starwood give that [to] all elites. …this is a [net] minus for Hilton Golds who will have more guests competing for their same level of throttled bandwidth.)
Two key points: at most of the hotel chains, you must have a points account to get the free Internet and unless you have top tier status, it’s going to be throttled.
Still, it’s good to see hotels (especially internationally) joining 1998.