Hyatt Hotels Corp. is the latest hotelier to join the Wi-Fi wars: Beginning in February 2015, it will extend free wireless Internet to guests in all lobbies and guest rooms worldwide, it announced
The announcement follows news from Marriott International
and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
, both of which recently announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi to members of their respective loyalty programs. Hyatt is setting its service apart by offering it to all guests, regardless of booking method or loyalty program participation.
"Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers' daily lives and a basic expectation," Kristine Rose, Hyatt's vice president of brands, said in a statement. "Travelers shouldn't have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it."
Guests at many Hyatt hotels, including elite members of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program, already receive free Wi-Fi. Where available, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service.
"Our colleagues are committed to not just listening to what our guests say, but understanding their real needs. This practice has already brought us new ways to make a guest's stay more personal and seamless, from expedited check-in methods to easier ways for guests to make requests," Rose continued. "Today, people consider smartphones just as important as their car, and more important than television or coffee. Travelers feel out of sync with their lives when they can't freely connect. Giving free Wi-Fi without a catch will enable us to continue innovating the guest experience to help people be more productive and stay better connected to colleagues, friends and family."For a recap of last week's top stories, check out MeetingNews Minute: