Lodging Survey: More U.S. Hotels Charging For Internet, Gym Facilities - Business Travel News

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Lodging Survey: More U.S. Hotels Charging For Internet, Gym Facilities

August 16, 2012 - 01:05 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

Free breakfast has become more prevalent at U.S. hotels during the past two years, while free Internet has become less so, according to a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and STR.

Based on responses from more than 12,000 U.S. hotels, the biennial survey conducted between March and June found 23 percent of properties charge for in-room Internet service, up 8 percentage points from a low in 2008. The charges remain clearly divided by tier: 84 percent of luxury properties and 76 percent of upper upscale properties charge for in-room Internet, while 18 percent of upscale and 26 percent of upper midscale properties charge for the service. No midscale properties in the survey charged for Internet service.

Charges for exercise facilities also have become more common, with 25 percent of hotels levying them, up from 21 percent in 2010.

On the other hand, following a "massive spike" in recent years, 79 percent of U.S. hotels now offer free breakfast, according to the survey. The jump may be partly due to a different mix of hotels in this year's survey than in previous years. Nearly all mid-tier hotels—95 percent of upper midscale and 97 percent of midscale—offer free breakfast, as do about half of U.S. upscale hotels.

Some new technology developments thus far have had little penetration into U.S. hotels, according to the survey. For example, 3 percent allow check-in via mobile devices and 1 percent allow guests to use mobile devices as room keys. Lobby check-in kiosks also are vanishing, with 7 percent of hotels using them compared with 28 percent of hotels in 2008.

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