High-speed Internet access is coming to feel like a necessity to an ever-growing portion of the population, especially people who use the Internet for work and young people who have never even used dial-up (ick);
- Best Western International Inc. will offer free high-speed Internet in all 2,300 of its hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, its chief executive said Friday.
“It’s the No. 1 amenity requested by virtually everyone, especially businesspeople, said Tom Higgins, CEO and president of the Phoenix-based hotel chain. “High-speed Internet for free is going to be where it’s at.”
Only about 10 to 15% of Best Western hotels currently have high-speed access, but Higgins said it will be available chainwide by September.
….Some other hotel chains are adding high-speed service, but many continue to charge for access.
Higgins predicts that other hotels will also be forced to offer free service eventually because travelers have become so dependent on e-mail and Internet services.
“Everybody is going to be here. It’s just a matter of how soon they’re going to get there,” he said.
Higgins also noted that travelers remain price sensitive and are weary of being charged for every amenity they use at a hotel from the phone to the pool to the workout room.
“People are tired of being nickeled and dimed at hotels,” he said. [AP]
As Internet access comes to feel more and more like a utility, it will become increasingly difficult to charge directly for it: hotels don’t charge extra for water and heat, although they are built into the overall price.