.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Hotels - put free WiFi in the rooms

Couldn't agree more! After paying $12.99 per 24 hours at The Hilton in Las vegas, I felt aggrieved when I had the self-same issues as JK experienced. Why expensive hotels feel the need to charge for something that cheaper ones give for free, is beyond me. Apart from the fact that a lot of the former are hosts to business travellers who can claim this on expenses!

Hotels - put free WiFi in the rooms: "

I am in downtown San Francisco and one of the first things I tried to do when I got here was get connected to the web in the hotel.' That's the life of a tech blogger, Internet first, everything else second.' I was immediately confronted with a scenario all too common for frequent travelers, the lack of free hotel connectivity.' In this day and age I can't understand why hotels, especially big chains, don't realize that good solid connectivity is an important feature for business travelers.' There are still many hotels believe it or not that don't have connectivity available at all and many that do provide it don't get it.



The hotel where I am now is a big hotel full of business folk and it's common to see laptops all over the lobby and in the various venues onsite.' That's because they still charge $14.95 per day for in-room Internet and as I quickly discovered that may not get you very much.' Since it's a legitimate business expense I tapped into the wired ethernet in the room, approving the daily charge and jumping online to get some work done.' What I experienced is very spotty bandwidth ranging from reasonable to downright poky all too often.' I checked the bandwidth at one point and was pretty annoyed by what I saw- 346 kbps down and 150 kbps up.' This is barely better than the days of dialup and certainly not acceptable for $15 a day.' This is not that unusual a case, I have seen this many times in different hotels who contract out the connectivity and then forget about it.



This hotel is not unusual in that while the room connectivity is spotty and expensive, they have free WiFi in many of the common areas like the lobby and restaurants.' So there's just no reason why they can't go ahead and blanket the rooms with the same coverage.' Sure it will cost them some money but in the long run they'll have happy business travelers returning every chance they get.' I've heard many road warrriors state that connectivity is the primary criteria they use for choosing a hotel.' It's just good business.' Solid connectivity is now a requirement for many business travelers and should be treated as such by the big hotels.



On a plus note I've determined that Union Square is blanketed with free WiFi which is very cool.' It's a strong signal that shows full strength even outside the park and that's nice indeed.