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Free hotel Wi-Fi not free for everyone

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ALEXANDIRA, Virginia – “Let’s be clear, ASTA’s [American Society of Travel Agents] members are against any policy that limits a consumer’s freedom of choice in how they purchase a hotel room

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ALEXANDIRA, Virginia – “Let’s be clear, ASTA’s [American Society of Travel Agents] members are against any policy that limits a consumer’s freedom of choice in how they purchase a hotel room, a cruise, an airline ticket or any other means of travel,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “Consumers should be free to book using the channel of their choice rather than being forced to trade off Wi-Fi services—now an essential tool for virtually every traveler—against the other benefits of having professional assistance when booking travel,” he said, commenting on new hotel policies that will restrict free Wi-Fi for some.

ASTA is providing a comparison to its members of these new policies that range from free Wi-Fi provided to all guests regardless of agency booking method or loyalty program by Hyatt, to Starwood’s policy to allow agency customers who are Preferred Guests to enjoy Wi-Fi if the agent makes the booking at SPG.com, to Marriott’s new policy that does not allow its non-elite Rewards members to enjoy free Wi-Fi if they use a travel agent.

Members of ASTA must evaluate what, if any, operational changes they will make to their business models as major hotel chains begin putting new policies in place to restrict free Wi-Fi offers when customers book through travel agents.

To help travel agents better understand the nuances of the offers by each of these hotel companies, ASTA has created a side-by-side comparison of each of these three new Wi-Fi/Internet policies. This chart also breaks out the brands within each hotel company’s portfolio that are and are not impacted by the new policies. See the chart at: http://www.asta.org/News/MemberAlertDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12724

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.