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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

More Doha hotels offering free wifi to attract guests

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As Qatar seeks to expand its tourism sector and vie to attract more business travelers to the country, more hotels in Doha are beginning to offer free wireless internet (wifi) to guests.

Traditionally, the service has been considered an added option by many luxury hotels throughout the world, and guests were charged extra to access it.

However, with guests now increasingly requesting free wifi, particularly when they are staying overnight, a number of hotels here and internationally have recently changed their policies.

This month, two of Doha’s 5-star hotels announced the introduction of free wifi throughout their facilities.

Grand Hyatt Doha said yesterday that it was launching a complimentary service inside guest rooms and public areas as part of a change in direction across all of its hotels world-wide. In a statement, general manager Christoph K. Franzen said:

“Wi-Fi is now viewed as an essential element of a hotel stay as it has become an integral part of guests’ daily lives.”

To access the service in their rooms, guests need to input their last name and room number into a browser, while “walk-in” visitors can log-on for free in public areas. An optional high-speed service is available in meeting rooms and business facilities at an extra charge, a spokeswoman confirmed to Doha News.

Meanwhile, the Marriott Doha Hotel near the old airport introduced free wifi for all at the beginning of this month.

https://twitter.com/DohaMarriott/status/561766502999683072

A spokesman for the hotel said that the new strategy was in response to customer demand and has so far proved successful.

A reliable mobile connection is increasingly becoming a necessity rather than an option for most people, whether they are traveling for business or pleasure, and many hotels are feeling the need to accommodate demand.

Other hotels

Other hotels in Qatar have offered free wifi for several years.

The Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) began offering free internet to its loyalty members worldwide in March 2013, eventually rolling it out to all guests.

The Intercontinental Hotel Doha, near Katara Cultural Village, also equips limousines that collect visitors from the airport with wifi service. Speaking to Doha News, a spokeswoman explained:

“We believe that wifi is a basic need, especially for someone who comes for business, and most of our guests are business travelers.

“It is a need that every guest demands nowadays especially those coming from Europe where it is common. For us not to offer it would be a disincentive to us.”

The recently-opened Marsa Malaz Kempinski on the Pearl-Qatar also has a free service providing “the fastest high speed WiFi internet connectivity” across its grounds for all visitors, according to its website.

Four Seasons Doha
Four Seasons Doha

Free wifi has also been available at the Four Seasons Doha hotel since January 2014. A spokeswoman told Doha News:

“We understand the importance of ‘staying connected’ for our guest. Our guests have ranked complimentary Wi-Fi as one of the most essential and valuable hotel amenities.”

But is it fast enough?

However, as more hotels offer free wifi service, they face an issue of “quality versus quantity.” Having a large number of people logged on at the same time can affect speeds and reliability of wifi, which can be frustrating to guests.

The website Hotelwifitest compiles an annual report of hotels in 50 selected cities throughout the world, examining the availability of free wifi as well as the quality of service provided.

While Qatar hotels are not included in the index, the index reflects the complex debate hotels and guests are engaged in when it comes to service priorities.

This push and pull is expected to become an increasingly pressing issue for Qatar as it expands its hotel offerings and develops its tourism sector.

Under-construction Mondrian Doha Hotel
Under-construction Mondrian Doha Hotel

This year alone, 20 new hotels and hotel apartments are expected to open in Qatar, representing a 25 percent increase in the number of guest rooms to 20,000, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) officials said earlier this month.

In the coming five years, approximately 80 new hotels and hotel apartments are set to open their doors, as Qatar prepares to host the World Cup in 2022 and as part of its wider National Tourism Strategy, which has a goal of attracting between 6.7 million and 7.4 million tourists annually by 2030.

More hotels will no doubt mean fiercer competition in trying to fill rooms and provide “value added” service that guests will remember.

Is having in-hotel wifi a necessity for you? Thoughts?

19 COMMENTS

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A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Slow news day ? Wifi in hotels really.. ?

“Honey should we go to Thailand or Doha this summer..? Wait let me check which one has free wifi… Look 5 star hotel with free wifi in Doha.. Then it’s settled honey we’re summering in Doha.. “

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

No but within a particular location hotels that charge separately for Wi-Fi will lose out.

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago

Particularly as the free wifi is generally a hotel chain decision, not a local property decision.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Aussie expat

Assumption is that the locally owned hotels follow the requirements to the letter from their franchise.

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

True.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Some do some don’t. The franchisors exist only due to the licence fees they collect from franchisees. In the modern world brand competition is fierce and the franchisors have had to learn to become more accommodating. Brand standards differ little between the rivals of the same star rating so it’s relatively easy for a hotel owner to dump one flag for another.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

ultra expensive 5 star hotels offer free WiFi, instantly become highly affordable

sicti
sicti
6 years ago

Dear hotels, welcome to 20th century. We are waiting for you to advance to 21st :)))

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

I still can’t figure out why 4 and 5 star hotels don’t all have free wifi. If all Mcdonalds can offer it, one would think the Ritz would offer it.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

It’s because MENA doesn’t fully understand customer expectations and marketing strategy. Eventually it will twig and they will advertise free Wi-Fi but hide the charge in the room rate as all branded hotels now do

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

Really this is what passes for news in Doha ?

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

This is NOT news….

During the stone age, I used to care about hotel internet, wired or wifi…

It was usually seen as a premium service, 10 minutes for QR100, or a day for QR200, or a week for QR500 or something…
Then some provided wifi for one device, same price….
Then some provided wifi for one device, for “free”….
Then some provided free wifi for 3 devices….

I recently travelled within the region with my family, 9 people, 3 bedroom apartment… they had free wifi for up to 3 devices.

We had 14+ devices: Phones, Tablets, Laptops…

I got a some prepaid sim cards with enough bandwidth and we used the phones as access points for the other devices.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Any hotel that now charges separately for wifi will lose business – and that is a fact.

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

‘Doha News – Breaking News and Latest Updates from Qatar’

You may want to upgrade your web servers. The flood of web traffic when the international community gets hold of this story will be immense.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

A number of hotels? The overwhelming majority of 3-5* branded hotels throughout the world have been offering free Wi-Fi for years. Of course it’s not free, but because “free” Wi-Fi makes hotels more marketable they feel empowered to include a charge within the room rate, Smoke and mirrors – there’s no such thing as a free meal.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

Non news is good news i guess

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

Hold the presses! You mean to tell me even MORE will do this? Amazing…where’s the world going to? I guess, if they could put a man on the moon…

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

The guest of these 5 star hotel CANNOT be expected to PAY to WiFi fees when they order the HOOKERS from Putin too ?

Jabir.A.T
6 years ago

Didn’t expect DN to consider this “News” worthy of reporting: Wehave free Wifi public parks here since 2006. Wake up!!!

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