Best Western hotels to install free high-speed Internet chainwide
: "Best Western International Inc. will offer free high-speed Internet in all 2,300 of its hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, its chief executive said Friday. "It's the No. 1 amenity requested by virtually everyone, especially businesspeople, said Tom Higgins, CEO and president of the Phoenix-based hotel chain. "High-speed Internet for free is going to be where it's at."
Only about 10 to 15% of Best Western hotels currently have high-speed access, but Higgins said it will be available chainwide by September. "Come Sept. 1, when you see a Best Western sign, you'll know they have it. That's the comfort we want to provide for the traveling public," he said.
In each of the hotels, at least 15% of the guest rooms and public areas will have high-speed Internet access. The company will also make wireless cards available at the front desk for guests who are in rooms without hard wiring. Additionally, the hotel's corporate office will make a toll-free number available around-the-clock for guests who have difficulty connecting to the Internet.
Higgins predicts that other hotels will also be forced to offer free service eventually because travelers have become so dependent on e-mail and Internet services. "Everybody is going to be here. It's just a matter of how soon they're going to get there," he said. " 11:30:50 PM