Study Shows More U.S. Hotels Charging for Internet & Gym Facilities

by  Mike Barish | Aug 17, 2012
iPad / grinvalds/iStock

There are plenty of things to complain about when it comes to hotels. Uncomfortable beds, the lack of convenient outlets, and dirty sheets are just some of the gripes shared by travelers. But nothing angers hotel guests more than fees, especially for services that they feel should be included in the room rates. Fees for Internet access and use of fitness centers consistently anger travelers, and a new survey shows that the problem is only getting worse. More hotels in the United States are charging for Wi-Fi and gym access, leaving guests to wonder why their calls for change are going unanswered.

An American Hotel & Lodging Association study based on responses from 12,000 hotels across the country found that 23 percent of properties charge for Internet access, up eight percent since 2008. The biggest offenders are the top-tier properties, with 84% of luxury properties and 76% of "upper-upscale properties" charging for Internet access in guest rooms. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of upscale properties and 26 percent of upper-midscale properties charge for the same service. It appears that the hotels that already charge the most for their rooms are not shy about asking for even more money once guests arrive.

Additionally, 25 percent of the hotels surveyed charge for fitness center access, a four percent spike since 2010.

If there's any good news to come out of this survey, it's that nearly 80 percent of the hotels that responded offer free breakfasts. According to the study, the less expensive the hotel, the more likely it is to offer complimentary food in the morning. Ninety-five percent of upper-midscale and 97% of midscale properties surveyed are serving up free cereal, eggs, and muffins.

Sadly, we're not terribly surprised by these results. Budget properties and chains that cater to business travelers and families have been offering free Internet access for years. Luxury hotels are notorious for making all of their offerings available à la carte. While complimentary breakfasts are a welcome perk, accessibility and connectivity are gaining importance as smartphones become more ubiquitous.

Do you avoid hotels that charge for Internet access? Do you check in advance to see what services are offered for free at your hotel? Share your thoughts on hotel charges in the comments.

See our Hotels hub for more trip-planning information, then check out our hotel deals.

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