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Zippier Wi-Fi Coming to Your Next Hotel

Though you might not see much difference in the bedroom decor from a Marriott Hotel in one city to another one city over, each is likely to have a different owner. That's because the major hotel chains are actually franchises.

Why should you, the consumer, care? Because with so many chefs in the "lodgings soup", needed changes can come more slowly to franchised operations than non-franchised ones.

Unless travelers yell like hell, that is. And in the case of slow hotel Wi-Fi, the shouting has been a steady roar in recent years.

The good news is: the hoteliers are listening. According to a recent article by USA Today many chains are now requiring that their franchisees to better their bandwidth and upgrade their technology. For the biggest Marriott hotels (those that can house 1500 or more) that will now mean a minimum of 600 megabytes per second. Wingate by Wyndham guests will see an improvement by next summer, with hotels required to provide a minimum of 100 megabytes per second for free; Microtel (also part of that company) will be offering 50 megabytes free by June. Choice Hotels, IHG and Hyatt Hotels will also be tweaking their standards, and some are implementing instant recognition features for loyalty program members' devices. Across the board, many hotels are adding access points, meaning that in some properties there will be one per room (rather than four rooms having to share the same bandwidth).

Bottom line: you'll soon be surfing faster. Hey, who says there's rarely any good news anymore?