I’m always on the lookout for tools which can help make my travels a bit better. And when it comes to hotels my lack of loyalty obsession means I spend a lot of time on OTAs rather than brand websites. And they’re generally decent enough interfaces (I’m partial to Hotels.com for 15%+ back on bookings overall, but there are a couple others I check as well to make sure prices are reasonable).
But one thing the booking engines – including those of the hotel sites themselves – won’t tell you is what to expect from the in-room wifi. Sure, they’ll eventually tell you if it is free or paid, but they’re not so good at being up front with the performance. Mostly because they probably don’t know and they don’t have independent tests to help verify and validate the claims. But hotelwifitest.com does have some data on that. Crowd-sourced on the testing side and aggregated into a decent UI, the site has a lot of information about what you can expect in terms of performance on the network. The listings on their site are reasonable enough and if that’s your main focus it is just the wifi speeds then you can click through to check rates and availability.
But I care a bit more about prices than wifi speeds so I’m not going to start on the company’s site. I am, however, going to keep their browser plugin installed. It adds the speed details in to the hotel details pages so you get not only the OTA’s take on the property but also the wifi report. That’s pretty darn cool.
Of course, it isn’t perfect. The functionality is great and my tests came back with quick results and data on plenty of hotels. But I’m a bit suspicious of the data. Not all of it, of course. I’m sure the stuff included based on multiple test reports submitted by real guests is reliable. And it even says in the details how reliable the company thinks the data is based on number of reports, how recent they were and over what range of times during the day they occurred. But there are also hotels where the data is just estimates. And I know at least one where the number is WAY off.
I checked the numbers for my regular bed in Nashville and the estimates are WAY higher than what I typically get in my room at night. Then again, the site also suggests that performance should be better at night (“You can usually reach similar results during off-peak hours (for example, at night).”) which makes very little sense to me at all.
So I’m calling this one interesting. Not a perfect solution quite yet but with a bit more participation from hotel guests I’m betting the data gets better. I know I’ll be adding a report from Nashville next time I’m there in hopes of cleaning up that bit. But I’m willing to give it a chance. Seems like it might just be worthwhile for a bit.
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