Joe Sharkey:

Still, in recent years, most hotels have heeded the message that business travelers require Wi-Fi access — no excuses accepted. While many convention and luxury hotels still impose a daily charge for access, most midlevel hotels and even many budget-price hotels now provide it free. And corporate travel managers are pushing hard for all hotels to provide free access, pointing out that customers, especially younger ones, live in a world where free Wi-Fi is expected.

It is surprising how well the hotel industry is modeling the coffee shop industry when it comes to WiFi. For a long time the “premium” coffee shops such as Starbucks charged for internet access (they still kind of do) while the local one off coffee shops gave it away for free. For the most part everyone started to realize that at the very least they needed someway of getting their customers online, for free, if even on for two hours (damn you Starbucks).

Not too long ago you really had to double check that there was WiFi at a hotel you may be traveling to, now days it is expected (and usually there). I have paid $10 a day for access (though it always pisses me off) and I have gotten free access. The one thing I have never gotten, whether paid or free, was fast and reliable. The last hotel I stayed at had a wireless router built into the landline phone, this was a terrible speed connection with about a 10ft range.

Hotels are improving their WiFi rapidly, but if you want to go somewhere reliable to get it be sure to check out my post from Monday.