Members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) must evaluate what, if any, operational changes they will make to their business models as major hotel chains begin putting new policies in place to restrict free WiFi offers when customers book through travel agents.
ASTA is providing a comparison to its members of these new policies that range from free WiFi provided to all guests regardless of agency booking method or loyalty program by Hyatt, to Starwood’s policy to allow agency customers who are Preferred Guests to enjoy WiFfi if the agent makes the booking at SPG.com, to Marriott’s new policy that does not allow its non-elite Rewards members to enjoy free WiFi if they use a travel agent.
“Let’s be clear, ASTA’s members are against any policy that limits a consumer’s freedom of choice in how they purchase a hotel room, a cruise, an airline ticket or any other means of travel,” said ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby. “Consumers should be free to book using the channel of their choice rather than being forced to trade off WiFi services – now an essential tool for virtually every traveller – against the other benefits of having professional assistance when booking travel.”
To help agents better understand the nuances of the offers by each of these hotel companies, ASTA has created a side-by-side comparison of each of these three new WiFi/Internet policies. The chart also breaks out the brands within each hotel company’s portfolio that are and are not impacted by the new policies. The chart can be found at http://www.ASTA.org .