Does Anyone Still Care About Free Hotel Wi-Fi?

According to the latest survey results from Hotels.com, Australian travellers are caring less and less about complimentary hotel Wi-Fi. In the company's previous poll, 41 per cent of respondents said that free Wi-Fi was the most important factor when choosing a hotel. In 2015, this has dropped to just 26 per cent. We think some people need to reconsider their priorities.

Hotel WiFi picture from Shutterstock

We totally get why free hotel Wi-Fi might not be considered as essential as it once was. The proliferation of portable hot spots and generous mobile data caps has allowed most travellers to access the internet whenever and wherever they like. Plus, your connection is likely to be a lot more stable than the complimentary service the hotel is offering.

But consider this — watching three hour-long episodes of your favourite TV show on Netflix could chew up over a gigabyte of data. When you throw in web browsing, Skype video calls, laptop/tablet tethering and photo uploads to social media, you're looking at quite a lot of data.

Naturally, this applies doubly when travelling overseas. Enabling global roaming when you don't need to is obviously stupid. Even if you had the foresight to purchase a cheap overseas data package or SIM card, why waste it inside the hotel? It's for this reason that free Wi-Fi is still at the top of my hotel checklist. That and a mini fridge to keep my smuggled-in drinks cold.

We're interested to see if Lifehacker readers share the same views as Hotels.com's survey sample. Cast your vote in the below poll:


Comments

    Travelling overseas, free hotel wifi was great when offered. In Australia I don't care as I have 6GB data on my phone plan, but overseas I definitely do!

    this is the first thing i look for at any hotel, overseas or australia, its totally important to the work I do, and even though I have GBs of 4G data, this is not enough for the amount of streaming and uploading I do. USA is great for free wi fi. Australia SUCKS at it !

    We just had the rest of our company over here from Poland, it proved very difficult to do business whilst travelling because of the lack of decent hotel wifi, they thought Australia was extremely backward in this regard.

    I'd say even more important for overseas travelers than local. When I traveled interstate, I used the hotel wifi to download part of the city's map. Don't need that now thanks to Nokia here maps :)

    "Free WiFi" often means "100MB free" now, which is pointless - I may as well just use my mobile at that point.

      That shits me. Depending on price im happy to pay. Just don't tell me its free and in tiny writing say 100mb only. If that happens i'd prefer to pay my telco.

      Yeah, when offered shitty slow capped wi-fi for $20 a night, compared to the high speed 4G and gigabytes of data I can get for the same price on my Phone, I can see why people would find hotel wi-fi less important nowadays.

      Perhaps a better way to put it would be, "Free, uncapped, high speed wi-fi", That would be a big selling point for any hotel for me, especially international destinations.

    Me not having to pay for hotel wifi is pretty important. However, when travelling for business my company generally makes sure that I have Internet access at the hotel whether it is included or extra.

    With that said, the hotels that offer free wifi usually provide a better service than those that charge for it separately. It is so much simpler to get online when they're not trying to track and charge every device that hooks up to the network.

    Free wifi is almost a given in some areas, especially metro. It's in regional areas I find it's an additional extra.
    However whether it's free or not, it should just be absorbed in the total room price. I hate checking in only to sit down and find I have to 'check in' for wifi and pay again, sometimes in lots, just to get wifi access.

    Free WIFI in my hotel room, along with a SIP app on my mobile allowed me to make free calls to home from Japan using the phone number from my iinet naked Internet plan.

    I care about it, Why use my own data when i can use something different.

    Although i feel bad for the hotel i last stayed at (little family run thing don't recommend it to anyone) they had free wifi but every room had a different wifi login so it was apartment 2 apartment 3 and so on, the problem was the passwords were the same poor apartment 9 and 14 copped a hammering from my laptop and tablet while our apartment was left pretty much unused.

    Somewhat important here as sometimes technology can be a big distraction of what we want to do during travelling

    I've been to enough hotels and know free wifi is usually SO slow it's pointless. The other limiting factor is the download quota.

    That's why whenever I travel I source a mobile wifi hotspot, or a sim card to use in my iPad and use that to share the internet to my other devices.

    Other thing I always pack, a portable/pocket wifi router (kanex myspot). Has come in handy a few times when there's ethernet but the wifi or mobile hotspots were unreliable.

    It would be awesome to have it but I think I'm more jaded than anything, often times it's really bad speeds or there's dl quotas or it disconnects regularly or you have to log in every 5 minutes that I just expect nothing now. I can't imagine paying for it is any better so yeah, I'd rather rely on getting hotspots or buying a local sim card than having to hope that he hotel actually delivers a decent service. Which is a reason I'm not a big fan of streaming, I'd rather download something and have it ready to watch than hope that all the ducks line up in a row and that something will stream right when I want to watch it.

    When staying in Queenstown NZ recently our hotel offered "free" wifi alas this was for one device only and was horribly slow. The stinger was there was no 3G/4G coverage inside the hotel so it was either sit outside and use 3G or sit inside and share the slow wifi taking turns between 2 people. Argh! The hotel did have free wired internet, next time I travel I will take an access point with me and setup shop that way.

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