by Loren G. Edelstein | March 01, 2015
M&C's March 2015 Research column asked meeting professionals for what they love or hate about Wi-Fi, and, oh boy, they responded. Here's a sampling of comments.

• When hotels do charge for Wi-Fi, it's overpriced. The fees charged for one meeting could pay the Internet bill for the entire month. Also, when Internet is free, the connection isn't always that great. I don't like when hotels make the reception poor so you have to pay for a better connection.

• That it is free in some hotels/centers and it is a profit center in others (which typically makes it VERY expensive). I would like it to be free for basic so you could refresh you app, check emails, etc. I would be willing to pay if I needed to stream content.

• The inconsistency between hotels. Some Hiltons may charge and some offer it free, same for Marriott and Hyatt.

• If I am constantly disconnected or can't have two devices working at the same time! Very frustrating

• Hotel Wi-Fi should be free, especially when you pay >$200 per night and have to add $14/day for in-room Wi-Fi. There is always another hotel.

• Slow & non-secure

• I'm always in blackout areas.

• Expensive, slow, cumbersome to get on every day

• I think there should be choices. If I just need to check a quick email, then there should be free Wi-Fi at all hotels, included in the guest room rate, and for all meeting attendees in the public space. If I am doing something complex requiring a high-level of dependable connectivity (such as running a fundraiser, webinar, etc.), then I think it is justified for the hotel to charge for the extra bandwidth and technician/technology to facilitate that.

• Most Wi-Fi hot spots allow users to locate their carrier, which today charge about $10 per month for the Internet, cable television and telephone connectivity.

• That they charge so much for daily service at upscale and luxury hotels. If the budget hotels offer for free why not the AAAA's and AAAAA's where we are paying $250+ a night?

• How expensive the Wi-Fi for meeting space is at the hotel. We all expect to pay for the service, but they are gouging us. I feel cheated nearly every time we need Internet and Wi-Fi in a hotel meeting space. The pricing is off the charts, and there is nothing they can do about it, really.

• Constant disconnect and re-logging in. Lack of connectivity to connect with all web pages

• Slow connections are painful, but I'd rather have a slow free connection, as I'm usually just trying to download email.

• When you elected to pay for it (no matter if it's in the sleeping room or meeting room) and the connection fails so you have to re-enter from the start as if you've never done it before. Or when you're given a router name (i.e., "Look for the XYZ Ballroom and enter this password") and it's not found/disappears.

• The cost for Wi-Fi in meeting space is exorbitant! I feel hotels know that most groups require Wi-Fi, and it is just a huge revenue generator.

• Hard to connect sometimes

• Budget hotels give you Wi-Fi for free -- it makes me crazy that big names like Marriott, Hilton and Starwood charge for this service. I always put my sales managers on the spot during site inspections by asking, "When are you going to come up to Best Western standards and give us free Wi-Fi?"!

• Fees for Wi-Fi in meeting spaces are outrageous. They are just ripping us off. I know there is a cost to provide Wi-Fi, but they make it up in the high room rental and F&B -- $60-$90 for hot water??? Come on!

• It does not always work well if you are in an outside wing of the hotel.

• I would just like to see some consistency in pricing.

• It is appalling to have to pay $10-$20 PER DAY for something that only costs the hotel pennies per guest. The hotels should just bump up the rate of the room by a few dollars to cover the Wi-Fi costs and provide it free. They know almost every guest will be utilizing Wi-Fi on some sort of device, and it galls me that they lord it over travelers like this.

• Wi-Fi is increasingly considered a standard benefit for most public places. Hotels should not block Wi-Fi in their meeting rooms. It makes attendees angry. It needs to be a standard amenity, like coffee makers and toiletries.

• Wi-Fi is very much a necessity in meetings. Attendees must stay connected and available to their employers.

• When it doesn't work!

• Love when it is free. Hate it when it requires you to log in repeatedly. And concerns about security of the network.

• That you tend to get free Wi-Fi staying in a bargain-basement motel, but hotels will often charge you through the nose for the "privilege," especially in meeting rooms. Why should Wi-Fi be free in the lobby, where someone not even staying in the hotel can get access, but in a meeting room where my organization is already paying both a room rental and F&B do hotels feel that they can charge sometimes thousands of dollars a day on top of that for Wi-Fi?

• Outlandish costs. Hate it! I hate that we have to negotiate with the hotel's independent A/V provider. Hate it!

• That you are supposed to have Wi-Fi, but you need to walk into the hallway or lobby to access it

• The vendors convention centers and hotels pick to offer their services are not very good and often "over-sell" the bandwidth they say they deliver.

• It's usually slow, even when we pay for it.

• Sorry hotels, but Wi-Fi should not be part of a resort fee or an additional fee. It has become as much a commodity as TV.

• It can be slow when streaming video. The one time I paid for Wi-Fi, I thought I was paying for me and my husband to use it but came to find out only one person/device could be using it at once. That really made me mad -- we were in the same room.

• I believe it should be standard to offer a complimentary robust Wi-Fi connection. During a meeting or convention, if I'm roaming the hotel, my biggest pet peeve is needing to reconnect to the Wi-Fi because it's in a different area.

• I hate that I have to leave the comfort of my hotel room to go to the lobby for free Wi-Fi.

• Pricing. Have received quotes from free to $3,000, $6,500, $14,000, and $29,000 for the SAME PROGRAM!!!!!!

• I love it when it is included and it works. I hate that hotels charge for it. And, if you are going to have Wi-Fi in your hotel, make sure it works everywhere, even when the hotel is sold out.

• I hate when hotels block wireless networks. I HATE when hotels want to charge exorbitant rates for Wi-Fi and block access to other networks in meeting space and convention space areas. I LOVE when hotels offer free Wi-Fi in meeting spaces for our attendees.

• Expensive hotels = you pay for Internet connections. Inexpensive hotels = free Internet connections. Interesting?

• I hate that some large chain hotels still charge for it. I pay extra on my cellular bill so I can use my phone as a hot spot to get around the inflated hotel charges. Definitely don't like paying for it in the meeting rooms. Being able to connect is crucial to our business, even when we're at off-site locations, so we need the Internet and the hotels know it. They're taking advantage of the fact that it's a necessity.

• All the ads before you get "on"

• My biggest complaint is the outrageous charges for Wi-Fi in a meeting room. It's practically criminal and not in line with other parts of the world that charge a much more reasonable fee (in the hundreds of dollars vs. thousands of dollars). I've actually lost business because of the cost of Wi-Fi a hotel wanted to charge for a meeting.

• I will not return to a hotel that does not provide adequate connectivity to meet the needs of my program. Saying they have high speed and then having it disconnect every time you go to download something will see cancellations of any future events with that venue. Saying there is an extra charge for the connectivity you need is better than messing up the meeting by not meeting expectations!

• It always costs an exorbitant amount, but the connection speeds are almost always dismal. What am I paying for? They could have installed new high-fiber to the property for the amount they charge meeting groups!!

• Costs are high enough. There should be a definite comp over a certain # of room night guarantees.

• I always have this lingering fear that it isn't safe to use.

• It's 2015; it should be complimentary.

• The free version is usually not strong enough to even do emails, let alone any kind of VPN.

• Too slow, even those alleged high-speed connections. Hate pop-up sign-in every time you try and access Internet. And WHY do luxury hotels charge for it when moderate hotels do not?

• Usually, it's a lousy connection, whether or not you pay for it.

• As with paying hundreds of dollars for a screen that literally drops down with the click of a button, it's outrageous to pay thousands for hotels to turn on their Wi-Fi for our meeting attendees.

• Signing up can be a challenge. I usually have to call down and ask questions, since their directions leave a lot of details out.

• Hotels need to accept the fact that Wi-Fi is an expectation, not a luxury item. It infuriates me that budget chains offer free Wi-Fi but higher-end hotels charge for it. Its particularly galling when one considers the brands are owned by the same companies. Hotels are in a last gasp to hold on to a revenue stream that is quickly disappearing. My attendees want their Wi-Fi, they want it free, they want it in hotel rooms and meeting space. Hotels must adjust to the market demand or risk upsetting customers.

• I hate when they offer free Wi-Fi but the signal is weak and can't connect.

• I get why the older full-service hotels charge in the meeting space -- to recoup the costs of retrofitting. At least that's been the party line for many years. But we're beyond that now, and a strong connection is expected and should be standard. Charging $500 or more for a connection in a meeting room is unrealistic.

• Slow! I ended up getting my own personal hot spot because I was tired of slow, overpriced Internet in hotels. If you hold  meeting in your hotel, Wi-Fi should be provided for no cost. It's the way of the future!

• The better the hotel, the higher the rate and the poorer the service.

• I hate that it is free and then you can't get it to work most times, which is why hot-spot Wi-Fi is great. I think hotels that block hot spots should be boycotted. It's sneaky and deceptive, counterproductive and antagonistic.

• Signal strength varies greatly. With attendees using at least three devices each these days, we can't always get the strength we need for mobile apps and Twitter feeds.