Hotel group offers free Internet -- with a catch

March 31, 2013|By Hugo Martin

The world’s largest hotel company is giving its guests free Internet access. But there is a catch.

U.K.-based Intercontinental Hotel Group, which includes such brands as Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza hotels, said guests will get free Internet at all of IHG’s 4,600 hotels in more than 100 countries by joining its newly renamed loyalty reward program, IHG Rewards Club.

To join, members must submit an email and a business or home address, which can be shared with third-party businesses.

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The offer will begin in July for elite reward members, and extend for other members in 2014.

“In today’s fast-paced world, we know that travelers need to stay connected and free Internet access is increasingly important,” said Richard Solomons, IHG’s chief executive.

Hotel officials say the importance of Internet access was emphasized in a recent IHG survey, which found that 43% of adults said they would not stay in a hotel that charged for Internet access. In addition, 23% of people polled said free Internet in a hotel room is the most important amenity, according to the online survey of about 8,300 adults from several countries.


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