Is it typical of all Marriotts that WiFi is blocked unless a separate fee is paid? I can get free WiFi at any el cheapo motel or fast food joint, why does Marriott insist on charging for it, and on top of that, blocking internet access even from my smart phone? This is ridiculous and so far behind the times! I was unable to even check my home alarm system or receive emails on my phone, let alone a laptop. I couldn't even get a connection in the parking lot!
This is a major negative for Marriott.
I am responsible for choosing venues for 2 major group events per year, and the WiFi issue will be a serious consideration of which hotel to book for these events.
WiFi is free for Gold and Platinum Elite as I'm sure you know however; at some properties you are required to sign in and agree to the fee, yet I've never had it applied to my bill when we check-out.
As for the connection seeming to be blocked, I had issues with that at one particular hotel and came to find out it was due to the security things in my laptop and Ibahn things that just didn't mix. After much energy spent to figure it out I got to talk with an Ibahn Tech who simply told me to call us directly and ask to have the WiFi enabled for the room you are in. The next time at the hotel I did what he said and bingo, there it was....took about three minutes to get online.
When considering group events, why not contact the hotel directly and ask for the free WiFi as part of your package? One would think they would accommodate that request, but then who knows.
You are so right, why is Marriott still charging for WiFi? As you have mentioned all cheap hotels offer free WiFi. In order to received WiFi you have to be a Gold or Platinum Elite member, it's not fair for all others who want to have the taste of Marriott. When choosing a hotel the first thing I look for is the free WiFi. My company pays for parking and any other amenities that are not offered for free but would not pay for internet access. I have spoken with lots of people who travel as much as I did and they have mentioned the same concern. I was overseas last year and lost my elite status and with that the free WiFi. After been a Platinum Elite member for years. Totally unfair!
Andrew Ross Sorkin (Too Big To Fail Author) specifically asked Sorenson last week on CNBC Squawk Box why do they still charge for Wi Fi. Sorenson just smiled and waited for the next question. I believe the answer lies in the fact that apparently, Marriott still receives enough travelers who businesses do reimburse for Wi-Fi (thus additional, pure bottom line, fees to Marriott) combined with Marriott's recent success in backfilling dissatisfied customers (long time loyalists as well as heavy revenue generators) with other customers, as they continue to set rev-par, stock price, and profit records.
The days of Marriott doing something because it is 'fair' are over, at least for the time being. As the DC market has shown, Marriott only responds when forced by market forces. Time will tell, how this strategy plays out, but for now, with most all of the cards stacked in their economic favor, we shouldn't anticipate any 'breaks'; Marriott has successfully gone at least a full year with this approach....and they like it.
You sound more like a General Manager for one of Marriott's hotels than a hotel guest who is trying to make a living and support a family. You probably work for Marriott si it does not bother you that a person has to pay out of his pocket the $12.99 per day charge. It may sound like a small amount of money but when you make a minimal wage every penny counts. When i was a Platinum Elite member it did not bother me because it did not affected my way of business. But now my job has downgraded and travel is a minimum so every perk counts for me and many other travelers.
Oh, I could give you a whole list of Marriott actions that irritate me (stick around the forum for a few days and you'll see). I wasn't justifying the Marriott charge for Wi-Fi, I was explaining it. I doubt few, if any, Marriott GMs would go as far as I did in the post above saying that the days of Marriott being fair are over. Highlighting the actions that Marriott forces upon us due to their current leverage, is not only not agreeing with their actions, but is, IMO, the more effective way of dealing with their 'nickel and diming' us. As far as the $12.99 charge, I agree with you, that's real money and this comes from a guy who spends hours on the Marriott.com pricing matrix combining rates with breakfasts, weekend nights, and parking trying to find the best overall net price.