Marriott hotels vow to end personal hotspot ban placed on guests

15 Jan 2015

After much tribulation and annoyance from paying guests, the management of the Marriott International hotel group have conceded defeat in their battle to block their guests’ use of personal hotspots.

In October 2014, one of the Marriott’s hotels, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Maryland in the US was fined US$600,000 for intentionally blocking access to people’s own Wi-Fi that wasn’t their own paid-for service.

As is increasingly common among travellers, people are increasingly turning towards their phone’s ability to turn into Wi-Fi transmitters for their other devices as a personal hotspot, rather than use a hotel’s service that may cost money, as well as a sometimes patchy connection rate.

Following its fine, Marriott International and a number of other hoteliers bandied together to appeal to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to go as far as to change the rules so they could return to blocking personal hotspots.

Now in January, the company issued a statement to that said they were giving up on their legal battle to contest the charges and would no longer be blocking any personal hotspots or Wi-Fi in customer’s rooms.

“Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels,” the email said.

While it has lifted its ban on using personal hotspots, the company confirmed that they intend to continue its examination of security issues that could relate to access from people’s personal hotspots.

Hotel Wi-Fi image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic