Some hotel chains in the UK are charging customers as much as £10 an hour to use wi-fi even though others offer the service for free.
The explosion in the use of mobile internet has meant that many travellers now rely on wi-fi to keep in touch on the move.
But a Which? Travel analysis of 18 major hotel chains in the UK found that only six (Best Western, Brittania, De Vere Hotels, Malmaison, Radisson Edwardian and Radisson Blu) provided guests with the service at no charge.
Wi-fi cost per hour
Among those who did charge, the most expensive chain-wide charge was made by Barcelo, at £6.50, just ahead of Hilton, and Hilton by Doubletree at £6.
However, rates varied within chains, so although most Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels charge less than £5 an hour, some charge up to £10.
After the chains providing free wi-fi, the cheapest chain-wide charge was £3.85 at Accor, which has the Ibis, Mercure and Novotel brands.
Daily wi-fi charges
Rates for 24-hour wi-fi access ranged from £3 at Premier Inn to £18 at some Days Inn properties, although 85% of Days Inn properties offer it free.
The highest group-wide 24-hour charge was £15 at Barcelo, Hilton and Doubletree by Hilton.
London hotel wi-fi charges
Which? Travel also looked at wi-fi charges at ten well-known London hotels. The service was free at 45 Park Lane, The Berkeley, Claridge’s and The Connaught.
Most expensive was The Ritz, which charged £26 for 24-hour access, with no option of paying less for fewer hours. This is more than many chain hotels charge for a week’s access.
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