TORONTO — InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will provide its 71 million loyalty program members with free Internet access starting in July.

The announcement by the UK-based company comes on the heels of an IHG survey which shows 43 per cent of adults wouldn’t stay in a hotel that charges Internet fees.

“In today’s fast-paced world, we know travellers need to stay connected and free Internet access is increasingly important. I’m proud that IHG is the first hotel company to offer free Internet globally to all our loyalty programme members,” said Richard Solomons, chief executive at IHG.

The IHG survey also found that 23 per cent of respondents said free Internet in rooms and hotel public spaces is the most important amenity during a business stay compared to seven per cent who chose room service. Chinese travellers placed the most importance on Internet connectivity — with nearly half (47 per cent) listing it as the most important amenity when staying in a hotel, followed by those from Russia (26 per cent), the U.S. (23 per cent) and India (22 per cent).

Free Internet will be available for loyalty program members around the world, beginning in July — first for  Elite members — followed by all members in 2014.

The move comes as IHG has enhanced and renamed its loyalty program. According to Solomons, rebranding to “IHG Rewards Club,” will help guests understand all IHG brands are part of the IHG family.


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