I find it interesting the number of posts that I see commenting about fact that Marriott charges for WiFi access and/or provides slow internet access speeds. Am I the only one that has a smart phone that acts as a WiFi hotspot? I realize that it is an extra monthly fee for the WiFi hotspot, but I find it is well the cost to make sure I have WiFi access where ever I go. To top it off, I have much less concern about WiFi security when using my own WiFi hotspot.
curiousone I am sure you are not the only with a smart phone with wifi. Far from it. But I am still a bit of a Luddite and don't have one, neither do I really want one. I just have a basic cell phone for emergencies. Personal choice, nothing more or less. But what I do have is a small, lightweight lap top that I take away with me. I like to use it to pick up emails, delete emails I don't want, and send a quick reply to those I want to put on hold. But I mainly use it for surfing when I am away. You know, finding out opening times for places I want to go; weather forecasts; look up a menu at a restaurant I have passed and thought looked nice; all sorts of other away from home related stuff. I really think that for me I wouldn't be comfortable using a screen as small as a phone for that. I much prefer to do all that sitting in my hotel room looking at a decent sized screen.
Most properties offer free WiFi in the lobbies, but I really don't want to do that when I can sit in my room and look stuff up at my leisure. Nowadays, I really think it should be free. Many hotels already provide this free facility, and I don't see why Marriott still charges.
Trust me, I understand the small screen issue on phones. When you have a phone with a WiFi hotspot you can then connect your WiFi enable computer, which is what I do without having to find any "local" WiFi. My nice big laptop screen (new and bigger screen since early 2014 because my eyes are aging)) along with a VPN connection allow me to do anything I can do at the office anywhere I have 4G/3G data connection. Why does Marriott continue to charge for this service? Because they think they can. One of these days they are going to wake up and realize they are loosing market share. About that time the perks will start showing up again. Just be patient. It reminds me of my local newspaper, the Arizona Republic (Yeh, I did enjoy reading a newspaper.). For the last 2 years they sent me a renewal notice with a big rate increase. The first time I called and said to cancel my subscription they immediately offered me a rate much closer to the old rate and I renewed. This last year when I called to say cancel they said OK. Within a couple of days I received a phone call offering a much reduced rate and I said OK. Some they screwed up internal communications and the subscription was never restarted. By the time they realized I was not a customer and started to call me again I had lost my addiction to reading the local paper. Thanks to caller ID never bothered to pick-up any of their attempts to get me back. I see the same thing happen with cell phone companies, they spend all their money seeking new customers and ignore their existing customers. When you leave they are suddenly interested in you again. Be patient, before too long Marriott will once again be your best buddy.
Thanks for the explanation curiousone but the issue still remains for me that I don't want to have to go through all that hassle - well, it might be easy for you, but believe me it would be hassle to me. I simply want my basic pay as you go cell phone "in case of need" and my lap top.
I think we are in agreement that however we choose to access the internet, Marriott should provide WiFi free. As ks77 also rightly says, why is it free in the lower brands, but not in FS Marriotts? I recently spent a few days in a small very central London hotel (non Marriott ) and the WiFi was free.
By the way, I still read a daily newspaper. Told you I was a Luddite didn't I!
I think it's ridiculous that the lower end brands of Marriott often provide free WiFi but full service Marriott's and higher end brands charge for it. Explain to me how a room for $99 at a Residence Inn has WiFi included but a $249 room at a full service Marriott does not. As a Gold member I get it for free also but just on principle, why would a person paying $99 for a room get something that a person spending $249 doesn't. It makes no sense.
Hi everyone - the free/not free WiFi can be very confusing and frustrating. I reached out to the greater Marriott team to provide all of your thoughts, curiousone, ks77, and Tommo781. I hope the below information provides clarity, and I'll continue to stay on top of these conversations. Have a great day!
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us. In recent years, Marriott Hotels has focused heavily on investing in our Internet infrastructure to improve the guest experience. The brand currently offers free Wi-Fi in its lobbies and follows a practice of charging for Internet access in guestrooms and meeting spaces. As noted in this thread, Marriott Rewards members at the Gold and Platinum Elite levels enjoy free Wi-Fi access.
As for the costs associated with some hotels, individual properties set internet fees based on criteria, including competitive pricing in their individual markets.
We appreciate your feedback and will share your comments with the appropriate department.
Mmmmmmm. Not sure about that central response jmart I don't think it really answers what people are saying. If Marriott has invested heavily in Internet infrastructure to the extent it still charges most guests, how can small hotels that are not part of a large chain do it for free?
As I said before, I don't want to have to go to the lobby to get free WiFi. I may only be silver now, but I have been gold, and I remain a very loyal customer. Surely complimentary WiFi is not too much to ask? Here in the UK it is £15 per day (yes £15, or $24 per day) which is frankly outrageous.
It is not true that only Gold and Platinum enjoy free WiFi. In certain hotels in the UK, it comes with suites as well, but then they cost significantly more in the first place.
The penultimate paragraph is rather laughable. So the budget hotels think it is best to provide free WiFi, but the FS Marriotts still charge?
But .............. I have a question, which I hope other MRIs can answer. The penultimate paragraph also says "individual properties set internet fees based on criteria, including competitive pricing in their individual markets". Now, if individual properties set their WiFi rate, doesn't that mean individual properties can also decide when not to charge an individual MR member? Has anyone ever asked for free WiFi when they are not in theory entitled to it? I think I will try if it is up to the individual property.
What do others think?
That's a great observation tommo. Certainly among the 800 or so full service properties, there must be some that reside in either weak or extremely competitive markets that would need to include free wi-fi to maintain profitable occupancy. Heck, here in the soft Washington DC market, there are several full service Marriotts (Gaithersburg, Tysons, Fairview to name a few) whose weekend rates are less than Fairfields (which makes me think Marriott would rather discount the rate than mess with their wi-fi policy).
So back to tommo's question; Has anyone ever experienced a Full Service Marriott Brand offering free wi-fi? I certainly haven't heard of one, which leads me to believe, that out of all the policies individual properties can tinker with, this must be one that's sacrosanct (with the suite variation noted, but essentially, in that case it's not free, but 'included'.)
As a low tech troglodyte who's also a Platinum, I don't really follow the wi-fi issue much, but it remains a hot topic, here, on FlyerTalk, and on another excellent forum Hotelchatter.com. Here's a string of articles about wi-fi, many mentioning Marriott, that might be of interest to some Insiders (especially the ones about tiers, and multiple devices).
Good point erc as to whether all FS Marriotts can decide whether to charge for WiFi or whether it is sacrosanct. It may take me a 2/3 weeks to find out, but I have a reservation at a FS Marriott here in the UK for August. I know the GM very well, and need to get in touch with him in a couple of weeks. I will ask him about the charge for WiFi, because last time we were there I was Gold, so it was free. I am pretty sure if he could waive the charge for me he would, so this will be a good test. If he cannot, then it is sacrosanct!
I thought we were really on to something there profchiara. So I checked on hotels.com, expedia and orbitz for the Marriott I mentioned previously, and sadly all the sites show WiFi for a fee! Ho Hum!
I agree with your point about using your smartphone as a HotSpot. My wife has that feature and the speed is much better than at any hotel when using the laptop.
Now having said that, it is also a terrible to charge the customer for the product Marriott offers. When I was traveling for business and had my work laptop I'd run into a couple of hotels where I could not access the internet period without contacting the provider directly. Something in my laptop security settings and certain hotels just didn't work without contacting iBAHN and giving them my room number etc.
Strangest thing was I could have just checked out of a hotel that used iBAHN had no issues there, drive 40 miles and run into not being able to connect. This would happen every time I'd leave Somers Point RI and head to PHL Airport Marriott. HotSpot is the way to go.
Plus some of us do not have hot spots on our smartphones. When I saw the capability on my Samsung S4, I thought, cool! I have ethernet at home since I live in an apartment and do not feel secure using wifi alone, but would like it when everything goes down and I need to rely on my tablet. I asked my wifi carrier and it would have cost me $35 more a month for something I almost never use. (I actually almost never use the telephone much or anything other than checking email without displacing myself to go to my computer.) I truly am the hermit I have always represented myself to be, and hate getting phone calls. The only time I 'come out of my shell' is when I'm abroad, so my friend(s) and relative(s) [note the small numbers involved] are delighted that I get partially subsidized to do so. But since my cat is the key person in my life, I have a dedicated Mobal British cell phone (which I recently updated) so my catsitter can call me in an emergency. It's actually very good -- you only pay for what you use. However, it's only good if you're using it for phone only, as I do. If you're using it for text or email you'll pay through the nose.
I've been thinking about this some more. Dangerous I know. But, Marriott doesn't give free wifi to elites until they reach Gold. There must be a lot of Silvers in the 10-49 stays per year bracket. A lot of them are probably business travellers. A lot of them must also belong to other hotel loyalty programmes, including IHG. I don't travel on business anymore, but if I did, what would I do?
Well, here in the UK Marriotts typically charge £15 per day for wifi. Yes, it is free in the lobby, but if I was on business, would I want to sit in a lobby and undertake business? No!!!!! I would want to be able to use my lap top etc in the room. So if IHG, who have a large property base, are giving me free internet, which hotel am I likely to choose?
Marriott, you are going to lose business for the sake of giving guests free wifi unless you are very careful!
Here's another wrinkle. When I stayed at the Renaissance Grand in St. Louis using a promo certificate, I was not given free wifi in my room even as a Gold elite member (my status at the time). I guess the reasoning was that since I was staying for free, I wasn't eligible. Strange since I had access to the CL. I was only there for one night and didn't give it much thought at the time.
It seems if free wifi is available to Gold elite members and up, it shouldn't matter whether I stayed on points, a certificate, or paid for my room. I suppose I could have pressed the point, but as I mentioned, I didn't think much about it. I did log onto MRI using the computer in the CL so I could keep up with things, so not having wifi was less of an inconvenience than it might have been.
In some other properties (FFI and SHS for sure), I've been told that as a Gold elite, I can choose the upgraded internet (usually about $5) without being charged. It hasn't happened everywhere, but it's nice when the front desk give me that option. If they don't mention it, I normally just choose the free option rather than risk being charged.
It seems long overdue for Marriott to offer free wifi in all guest rooms to everyone regardless of status.
bejacob Yes - that is a head-scratching wrinkle that I will be sure to pass along the the Marriott team for you today. I'll let you know what I hear back.
Good morning bejacob ! I did receive some information about your specific experience, as well as some additional details that may help with this confusing and often frustrating question regarding the state of free/not free WiFi. I hope they do clarify things a bit, but I know there are strong opinions related to this topic and I'm sure some questions will remain. I'll keep an eye on this thread and will be happy to continue flowing feedback to the team.
As for not receiving free Internet while under a free stay, that certainly sounds like a hotel service error to the greater Marriott team. If you'd like, they would be glad to have the hotel contact you (simply send me a direct message with your stay details and contact info).
More details about general WiFi guidelines:
- All North American properties are moving toward a tiered internet structure along with upgrades to the infrastructure. The roll-out is planned throughout 2015 as individual hotel contracts with net providers expire and are moved to new providers.
- Tiered pricing allows guest to choose which level meets their needs: High Speed for checking email, updating status, browsing the web; Enhanced High Speed for downloading large files, video chat, music, streaming
- CY, FI, RI, TS, SH still have free high speed internet and will offer enhanced high speed internet for a daily fee
- Gold and Platinum receive Enhanced High Speed as a complimentary benefit at participating hotels
- Applies to up to three devices at CFRTS, up to six devices for full service
- Fees vary by hotel; set according to market conditions
- This move excludes the Autograph Collection, The Ritz-Carlton, and all properties in Quebec, Canada.
Note: Marriott encourages guests to always share their feedback with the hotel in question. They may take that information and use it for the basis of creating a new internet policy.
That's all very well jmart, but what about the rest of the world? Marriott have hotels all over the globe, not just in North America. So what is going to happen here in the UK? I really object paying £15 a day now I am silver, to the point that if something doesn't get done about it, I may take my business to IHG, where it is free from 1st July.
I also find the last paragraph of your post quite strange. Marriott encourages feedback and may take and use it for creating a new internet policy??????????? How much feedback do they actually need? There are pages and pages of it on MRI.
I will definitely see what I can dig up for you, Tommo781 regarding the UK and other countries as I totally understand this is a limiting answer. To your second point, I believe the feedback being encouraged is to share feedback with the specific hotel(s). We do share the suggestions and conversations here in MRI with the greater Marriott team. But since fees vary by hotel, also having discussions at that contact point may help with future policy changes and enhancements. Does that make better sense?
jmart I am playing devil's advocate here. Are you saying that individual hotels set their own internet policy and charges? If so, surely they will also have the ability to charge or not to charge. So if I feedback my dissatisfaction with their internet charge, do they have the authority to waive it?
To your interest in non-U.S. WiFi enhancements, tiered internet is being rolled out globally. However it is important to note that due to local laws, some select markets may not have the tiered option. But, as a whole, they are working on upgrading the infrastructure globally to improve the customer experience.
Related to the Marriott Rewards benefits for WiFi, at this time the free in-room internet benefit in most regions is for Platinum and Gold members, but I passed along your feedback regarding Silver benefits. Good news is that in Europe (provided that local law allow), most brands offer free internet in the lobby and other public spaces, excluding meeting rooms. Marriott's Internet strategy will enable a faster, more reliable internet offering, provide wired and wireless internet access, and address bandwidth challenges - all leading to improved guest experience.
Marriott has heard loud and clear how important speed is to its guests, so their upgrade plan calls for improved infrastructure, which in turn will lead to a faster internet experience for everyone.
I hope this helps for the time being, as I'm fully aware that the proof is in the pudding. Now if only we had a time machine to get there today ;-)
Maybe it is time I took a rest from MRIs. I am becoming more and more frustrated that my comments, and those of other loyal MRIs, are only receiving lip service from Marriott.
jmart it is not "Good news is that in Europe, most brands offer free internet in the lobby and other public spaces." It is not news at all, let alone good news! I have clearly stated in this very thread "Most properties offer free WiFi in the lobbies, but I really don't want to do that when I can sit in my room and look stuff up at my leisure. Nowadays, I really think it should be free. Many hotels already provide this free facility, and I don't see why Marriott still charges."
I don't see where local law comes into it in the UK, so that is irrelevant. I recently stayed with friends in London in a hotel very close to 2 Marriotts. The Marriotts charge for WiFi, the hotel we were in was free throughout the hotel for everybody. I have found that all over the UK, so it is Marriott's choice to charge, not the restriction of local bylaws.
You say "Marriott has heard loud and clear how important speed is to its guests," but they obviously totally ignore the fact that the cost is highly important to myself and other MRIs too. I don't see why I should pay in a Marriott, where I have been a loyal and regular guest, yet can go for the first time to a competitor and get WiFi totally free. It is clear from this forum that I am far from alone in my view.
I also asked a specific question. "Do hotels set their own internet policy and charges? If so, surely they will also have the ability to charge or not to charge. So if I feedback my dissatisfaction with their internet charge, do they have the authority to waive it?" That has been totally ignored. It would be nice to have an answer so that all MRIs on the thread would know.
As I said, maybe I should take a rest from MRIs. The lack of real understanding by Marriott on this and other topics is starting to wind me up.
Although I am taking a break from MRIs, I am just popping in to let you all know something. jmart has studiously declined to answer my question "Do hotels set their own internet policy and charges? If I feedback my dissatisfaction with their internet charge, do they have the authority to waive it?" Well, by sheer coincidence I found that a friend of a friend works in a Marriott in London. I won't name which one, as I wouldn't want to get this person in trouble.
BUT, individual properties can waive internet charges. The property in question does not charge for suites, or obviously Gold & Platinum elites. It also regularly waives the charge for other regular guests, guests on stays of more than one night, and silver elites. Always providing, of course, that they ask! So guys, don't be afraid to ask.
What caught my eye about this thread was the possibility that the Internet charge was one that we hadn't really heard of it being waived (although we had seen examples of it being included) for non Plats/Golds. Tommo's friend suggests that it can be negotiated. This seems to follow the examples of resort fees and other on site negotiations (like views etc), where as long as the hotel is "making up" the charge, there's flexibility. Parking (and Starbucks coffee) is somewhat of a different animal in that several are actually contracted out, thereby reducing the properties ability to deal. However, we have had examples of parking being waived at properties that run their own parking.
Summary - it's a property by property world out there, for (it seems) virtually everything. I like this because it accrues benefits to those of us who are willing (and fortunate enough) to have the time to do the legwork in establishing relationships (often with very service oriented associates). This, to me, makes it a more even playing field for travelers on their 'own dime', offsetting some of the inherent advantages of the corp paid expenses for the business traveler (which I once was and why free breakfasts have different values for different travelers) and/or their corp or govt. rates.
Interesting phrases used....."high speed" and "enhanced high speed". They advertise high speed now and it in some cases is so slow it would have to speed up to stop!! How about Marriott's greater team explore what those speeds will be compared to what the speed is today?
I spent a night at the FFI in Helena ($100). I was getting 20MB/s bandwith for free.
A few nights later, I was at the Renaissance Seattle (over $300): on the free tier I was getting less than 1MB/s, with the enhanced tier, 4MB/s.
At some other Courtyard and FFI I used the enhanced tier: I was getting the exact same speed as the free tier.
The hotel must make sure that:
a) the coverage extends to all the rooms
b) the speed is fast enough, especially for the enhanced tier
c) the tier system is actually working
At Courtyard, there was a limit of three devices per room. Since we both have a phone and an iPad, we were not able to connect all the devices.