InterContinental Hotels Group says it is the first chain to commit to free Internet access for all members of its loyalty program.
Elite members are to get the free access beginning in July 2013, and the free Internet will extend to all loyalty program members during 2014, the company says.
Current Wi-Fi rates for guests at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel are $12.95 per day for light access, and $15.95 for the premium service.
The change will occur as IHG renames its loyalty program IHG Rewards Club, dropping the previous Priority Club Rewards name.
IHG says the free Internet will benefit all loyalty program members “whether they stay the night or come in for a coffee or an impromptu meeting.”
An InterContinental spokesperson says Internet technology varies among is more than 4,600 hotels, with many providing Wi-Fi and other offering Internet access through ethernet connections.
“The intention is to offer Wi-Fi throughout our hotels for members,” the spokesperson says.
InterContinental timed its free Internet announcement for loyalty program members with the release of an IHG-commissioned survey that found that Chinese travelers placed the most importance on online connectivity (47%) when choosing a hotel, followed by travelers from Russia (26%), the U.S. (23%), and India (22%).
Overall 43% of adults surveyed indicated they would choose to forego staying at a hotel if it charged for Internet access.
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