(EDIT: Free internet in Europe was eventually introduced in July 2014)
When Priority Club – the Holiday Inn, HI Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc reward scheme – was relaunched as IHG Rewards Club last year, the biggest change was the provision of free internet.
From last July, all Gold and Platinum members of Priority Club / IHG Rewards Club got free internet access on their stays.
The long-term plan was more ambitious, though. From January 1st 2014, ALL IHG Rewards Club members were to receive free internet. Since IHG Rewards Club is free to join, this effectively meant that everyone in the hotel would get free internet.
(Not necessarily high speed internet, though. I expect a lot of properties to offer a slow speed for free but still require payment if you want something fast enough for video.)
There was no doubt about this. Take a look at this old page on the IHG website. There is no disputing what it says – free internet for all in 2014.
And yet, this is what the terms and conditions on the IHG website actually say:
Internet Access for Members: Beginning January 2014, standard internet access will be available to all IHG® Rewards Club members at no additional cost at all IHG hotels located in the Americas, Greater China, Asia, Middle East and Africa with or without a hotel reservation and/or qualifying stay. Furthermore, IHG® Rewards Club Elite members will be provided standard internet access at no additional cost at all IHG hotels in Europe. Internet availability and accessibility in common areas vary by hotel. Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by hotel. Details regarding a property’s internet accessibility will be available at the hotel’s registration desk. Please note that The Venetian® and The Palazzo®, an InterContinental Alliance® Resort, do not offer the Free Internet Access benefit, which is instead included in the daily resort fee.
So …. if you are at a hotel in Europe, you will NOT be getting free internet unless you are Gold or Platinum.
This is not a typo. If you look at this page on the IHG site, there is a tiny mark next to the line “All members will be able to stay connected at no charge” and in the small print at the bottom it says “May not be available in all regions”.
Well, call me fussy, but excluding THE WHOLE OF EUROPE from something you are advertising deserves a little more than a tiny footnote. Heaven knows how many people will book rooms on the back of this and then find out that they aren’t getting free internet after all.
What is IHG playing at? How can you spend 8 months saying you going to bring in global free internet, and then decide at the last minute to exclude a huge chunk of your hotels?!
I don’t know at the moment if European hotels have been given a short-term temporary reprieve or whether this will be the permanent position. IHG may be getting a visit from the advertising standards people sooner rather than later, however.
(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)