Accor has become the latest chain to offer WiFi free for guests in Australian hotels.

This week, the chain turned off the cost of paying for WiFi for Silver, Gold and Platinum members of its LeClub Accorhotels loyalty program in its Australian hotels.

Accor’s Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath, said the move has come following an in-depth trial to uncover the best solution for both guests and hotel owners.

He said he believes this plan will be the best model for the immediate future.

“Meeting customer expectations is at the forefront of our operations and we understand that most people today travel with laptops, tablets and smartphones and want to access the internet wherever they are,” McGrath said.

“Our new guest internet services program will offer some form of free internet for all guests and unlimited free internet for our most loyal guests.”

Membership to LeClub Accorhotels is free of charge and to reach Silver status, guests need to stay 10 nights per year at an Accor hotel.

McGrath was quick to point out that during Accor’s internet trial – during which some hotels offered free internet across the board and others trialled a tiered system where basic internet was free but high-speed, high-quality access was priced – guests were actually more interested in quality than price.

Guest feedback, he said, showed that most guests would prefer to pay for faster, better internet access than use a free system that was slow and didn’t allow them to download larger files.

“We continue to look at ways to reduce or even eliminate the cost of internet for our guests but at the end of the day, with the current overheads and the lack of a cohesive national broadband system in Australia, we believe this is the best model to allow the vast majority of guests to access some level of free wi-fi during their stay,” he said.

Non-members will still be able to access free internet in the hotel lobbies or can choose to purchase an internet plan during their stay from AUD$12.50 for two hours.