According to this Hotel Management article a growing amount of tourist-attracting cities are offering free Internet access. Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis, and possibly Los Angeles are amongst some that offer free Wi-Fi within city limits.
However, municipal Wi-Fi programs are difficult for cities to pull off successfully. It requires heavy investment in hardware and antennae to get through buildings. For example, San Francisco is vying for $600,000 supplied by Google to offer Wi-Fi to over 30 parks and communal areas around the city. Projects are expensive so deployment has been limited.
Rolling out citywide Wi-Fi is sure to be slow coming over the next few years. Still, hotels should prepare by optimizing their guest Internet access. Hotels that provide a better online experience – more secure, more reliable, etc. – are sure to gain a competitive advantage.
Furthermore, investing in guest networks now will provide infrastructure for future mobile services, such as mobile check-in and out, in-house push notifications, and personalized loyalty programs. Also supplementing with F&B services adds to revenue as well as value to guests while hopping online; think a step above Starbucks and McDonalds.
Do you think citywide Wi-Fi is a threat to your property?