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Free internet next battleground for hotels

18 Aug 2005 by business traveller

Free broadband internet access is being offered by an increasing number of hotel chains in a bid to woo business travellers.

The latest hotel group to offer free broadband is Radisson SAS,which is rolling out the initiative as part of its E@syConnect service across hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It will be available in most hotels by September 1.

Guests can use wired or wireless internet access free-of-charge in bedrooms, public area and meeting rooms. The group completed installation of wireless hotspots in most of its hotels at the start of 2005.

Kurt Ritter, president and chief executive of Radisson SAS parent company, Rezidor SAS Hospitality, said: "Free broadband as a service is what guests want from hotels today."

The brand's nine UK properties in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Stansted, Limavady, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow. For more information go to www.freebroadband.radissonsas.com.

Other hotel groups that offer free internet include Malmaison, which has wireless internet in the lobby and bar areas of its UK hotels and a broadband dataport connection in the rooms.

W hotels, the trendy boutique brand from Starwood also offers free wireless internet access in its public areas, and Staybridge Suites, the new long-stay hotel offering being launched by InterContinental Hotels in 2006, also plans to offer free broadband internet in its rooms.

Report by Ginny McGrath

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