Sci-fi author John Scalzi has formulated a new techno-axiom whilst on his current book tour—Scalzi's Law of Hotel Internet Connections, which reads thusly:
The more expensive the hotel, the more expensive and/or crappy the Internet connection.
I think he may be on to something. The average but not luxurious hotel that hosts ConGlomeration, my local science fiction convention (wherein I'll be hosting a trivia contest) has pefectly useful free wi-fi throughout the hotel, but it ironically doesn't extend to the convention space (weird, I know).
Meanwhile, a number of the fancier places I scouted for TechRepublic meeting events expect that you should rent a USB Wi-Fi link and/or pay for access to the connection. It's like Starbucks has taken over the hotel industry. Considering how cheap it is to set up wi-fi these days, you'd think hotels would roll out the free stuff as a selling point in a competitive industry. Works for non-Starbucks coffee shops. Schmucks.