Hyatt have issued a press release stating that ‘free Wi-Fi will become available to Hyatt guests around the world in February 2015’. This offering is irrespective of membership of Hyatt’s loyalty program or how guests have booked.
The move follows IHG’s introduction of free wi-fi for all IHG members at the start of this year, and announcements that Marriott (as of 2 February 2015) and Starwood (as of 15 January 2015) will be adding free wi-fi for customers that book directly with the respective chains.
Interestingly, Hyatt say that ‘where available, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service’. This could be a big positive for frequent Hyatt guests if properties that previous offered only a premium wi-fi option, change to a two tiered model. It has certainly been the experience of a number of IHG elite customers (who are technically only entitled to free basic internet access packages), who have seen IHG properties attempt to cap or throttle their internet connectivity in an attempt to shake more incremental revenue out of guests.
It has also been observed with other chains that some properties need to upgrade their internet connections to cope with expected increases in internet usage as it is no longer a chargeable service.
Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt is exactly right when she says that “Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travellers’ daily lives and a basic expectation”. All in all, big thumbs up for Hyatt with this move.