Premier Inn introduces free Wi-Fi
Premier Inn is to provide complimentary Wi-Fi at its 690 hotels across the UK and Ireland.
Wi-Fi will be available in guests' rooms and communal areas, and visitors will be able to connect their laptop, tablet or smartphone for the duration of their stay.
This replaces the previous charge of £3 for 24 hours or £12 for one week's access. High-speed access will still be charged at a cost of £5 for 24 hours.
The new policy compares favourably with Premier Inn's chief competitors Travelodge (which charges £3 for 24 hours or £12 for one week's access) and Holiday Inn (which charges all guests who are not members of the InterContinental Hotels Group).
Premier Inn said the decision was made after its survey of 2,000 Britons, in which one in five cited a lack of Wi-Fi as their primary travel gripe.
The study also found Brits spend 374 hours a year working outside of the office on average, with 18% of people using a hotel, café or outside spaces instead.
A spokeswoman for the hotel chain said: "We've made this change because customers were asking for it. With one in five people suggesting that having no Wi-Fi is the most frustrating element of being away from home, we understand it's now more important than ever to be connected."
The decision comes two years after a study revealed that two-thirds of travellers consider free Wi-Fi the most important hotel facility. The same survey, conducted by hotels.com, which surveyed 8,600 people across 28 countries, found that just 11% were willing to pay for Wi-Fi during their stay.
Premier Inn saw a sales growth of 14.7% in the first half of 2014 with a record occupancy of 84%. The chain's owner, Whitbread PLC, which also owns Costa Coffee, is expanding the brand into Germany after purchasing a 200-bed hotel in Frankfurt last year.
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