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Internet in hotels?

     
2:50 pm on Jul 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We are trying to price the internet in a hotel we own. We do not want to piss people off at the same time we want to make some extra cash.

What is a fair amount to charge per day and not make people angry?

3:05 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Free to the guest is good. Rule #1 when booking an hotel is free Internet. Work it into the price of the room.

Will your guests be spending time in their rooms or in common areas that so that they will use Internet?

True story.... Went to a wedding two weeks ago at a resort in Lake George, NY. No internet or cell service. Very unhappy crowd at the wedding.

3:27 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If your customers are mainly business people, you can probably get away with charging for Internet. Or you might be able to get away with it if you're the only hotel in town. Otherwise, the few dollars you may make in revenue will pale to the lost revenue from customers staying at your competitors instead.
4:08 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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First 15 minutes free after that charge in blocks of 30 or 60 minutes.
4:32 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Provide free wireless Internet in the bar area. People will use it and buy a drink or two too.
6:03 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Speaking as a customer, I hate being nickel and dimed to death at hotels/resorts. Unless you are known for being a budget operation where extra fees are expected, include intenet usage in the quoted rate.
6:31 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I like Craig and BeeDeeDubbleU ideas.

Keep in mind more people are getting wireless cards, so be careful in projecting revenue on this service. If you are in a competitive situation, "free web access" can give you a real edge.

7:33 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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$3
7:49 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On a semi-related note...

Why is it that in the US one can get free access in a cheap motel, but the a good hotel charges - even though one might already be paying 4-5X's (or more) for the room?

I get very grumpy over this, and the lack of free access has been known to be the determining factor when booking a room.

8:32 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I thought I posted in this thread, maybe it was deleted, or maybe I'm just getting old.

Anyhow, FREE is too expensive!

I doubt a hotel giving away any amount of free internet, presumably wifi, access is paying enough attention to things like security.

That said, I use a wireless broadband card and sleep better! Of course I could be just fooling myself :)

In the end, make your fees high enough to cover the real cost of a well maintained system.

9:36 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I never return to hotels that charge for internet...some of the biggest hotel chains have lost a lot of my business this way (I stay in hotels 2-3 times per week at present).

Strangely I can forgive almost anything else but not hotel charges for internet.

9:41 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I doubt a hotel giving away any amount of free internet, presumably wifi, access is paying enough attention to things like security.

Do you really think Hilton is paying more attention to security than Best Western?

10:30 pm on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A Hilton is more likely to have an IT staff than a Best Western. Which, of course, can mean very little. :)

I interviewed for an IT position at a big hotel where the staff was overworked, and I've also stayed at smaller places where the "IT person" was a very knowledgeable college student working part-time.

1:33 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sicne the OP has "central europe" as location: forget the free argument. Most hotels I've ever stayed at in Europe had for pay Internet only.

I've seen prices from up to 17 quid in the UK to 20 EUR in Paris (for 24 hours).

If on business and the customer picking up the tab I don't mind. If it's on vacation I try to find a cheaper Internet deal, if needed in another hotel.
I never stay at any hotel without knowing the price for extras I will need such as Internet.

One way to do it is to get a premium package that included these extras (Internet, parking, and maybe breakfast) at a still affordable rate (but higher than the most basic rate).

Keep in mind that charging for it is far more complex than not charging for it.

But in either case: you're playing ISP for your guests and they might be regulated depending on exactly where you are and you might even be liable for any hacking done to third parties by your guests (esp. if you do not know who did what, and hence can't tell the cops where to go look for the real culprit).
[Most countries have legislation to protect ISPs (and in exchange saddle them up with a umber of requirements), but you're unlikely as a hotel to fully qualify for that protection.
As a result most hotels that do this outsource it to a specialized partner.

Pricing: I think it all depends on who your customers are, how fancy your hotel is, etc.

1:41 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Lawman ..make me calculate the "hidden extras" and you lost me as a customer ..integrate the "free" and put in 18 pt bold that it does not include P2P (, rapidshare nor streaming pron et al ..and the block all of that ( via the router anyway ) ..log their attempts to connect to the "forbiddens" ..and then let them know 'jokingly) that it's like they tried to sneak in 4 more adults overnight into their room ..and that "next time" ..you would charge ..said with a smile ..

word will get around ..that you are cool ..you are not dumb ..and that you are fair ..

that gets you word of mouth advertising and repeats ..

gold ..

agree with BDW ..free in the bar ( with the foregoing exceptions ..stops them downloading HC pron for later ) ..you'll get more in drinks than it'll cost you in bandwidth ..

>>edit .missed crushes "location" as explained by Swa66 in which case ..€15.00 per day ( 24 hour period ) and outsource the admin to someone who has official local ISP status to run your system ..to CYA ..<<

I know someone here who does this service to hotels and would you beleive it campsites ( netbook in a tent ) ..hotel or campsite makes €7.00 per day clear ..he looks after all the wi-fi spots ..admin ..blocks ..blocks all non legal uses ..

everyone is happy ..and covered ..and those who went looking to download what they cant legally ..dont walk into the front office in the morning to complain :)

4:07 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am going to reiterate free here. The cost of providing the service is so low that you only need to gain an extra booking a month to cover it. Make it free and then make it a marketing tool - splash "free internet in all rooms" blurb on your ads and billboards.

If your competitors and similar establishments are charging; definitely do not charge. It is a chance to differentiate your offering.

4:53 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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free... as said, atleast somewhere.

You can charge me a little more for internet in my room... but in common areas it should be free.

This can be a decision factor, after price, for me.

7:30 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Rule #1 when booking an hotel is free Internet.

Indeed.

8:40 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you are in a competitive situation, "free web access" can give you a real edge.

I agree with this. Personally when looking for a hotel the availability of Internet Access is high on my list of criteria. I am thinking of going to Crete for a couple of weeks in September and I will be looking for free Internet access wherever I stay.

This is the only way we can drive the scandalously high prices down in Europe. I stayed in a Ramada Jarvis in Perth, Scotland recently and they wanted £6.00 for 24 hours access! Most of the European hotels advertise "Internet Access (with a surcharge)". They seldom if ever tell you what this surcharge is going to be because they know it is shockingly high.

Incidentally most Ramadas in the US offer free Internet access. Why is that we Europeans always get shafted?

10:25 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Why is that we Europeans always get shafted?

A B&M presentation for Customer Services I once attended suggested a differerence in the European and US mindset. European consumers make INITIAL purchasing choices based on price. US consumers make decisions based on service.

So, your average José European will say "I need basic function X, what is the least I can pay".

Joe America says "I expect function X to cost about Y, what can I get for my money"

The US experience is service-led, and the European price-led.

OF COURSE there are exceptions by both industry and by consumer group. And asking people reveals Europeans SAY they would pay more for better service, but ACT differently.

Incidentally, the presentation stated that Customer Services is the number 1 factor in CUSTOMER RETENTION in both US and EU.

1:01 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A B&M presentation for Customer Services I once attended suggested a differerence in the European and US mindset. European consumers make INITIAL purchasing choices based on price. US consumers make decisions based on service.

That may be true, because in many european countries people are not used to "service". Reminds me of the failed attempt of Walmart to get a foot into the german retail market. People repeatedly complained because of being harassed by strangers when entering the market (the greater), being constantly disturbed by employees (10 foot rule) and some ruffian would uninvitedly pack their purchases into bags, thereby touching all the goods including the fruit and vegetables. An interesting for all people trying to enter markets in other countries is this study about wal-mart failures:

[iwim.uni-bremen.de...]

As to internet in hotels: I'd put a few extra dollars on the room prices and offer it as a free service.

7:36 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Add me to the "Free Internet" crowd. Being a North American I am starting to get very spoiled with free access at hotels.

When I am comparing two hotels and the price is very close, I always choose the one with the "free internet" access. If I am in a room that I have to pay for the internet, I often weigh out how long will I be using the net and then calculate in my mind if its worth the cost. Often I choose "No" and the hotel lost the extra revenue if they charge too much.

7:51 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a client that owns a hotel.

He has 2 free kiosks in the lobby each with a tower.

He has 2 empty workstations next to the kiosks that you can plug a laptop in, free.

He has no wireless.

He then charges $15 to "turn on" the connection going into your room, no matter the length of stay.

He does alright with it.

People who don't want to pay don't have to but can still connect. Those who want it in their room pay for it.

10:48 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As long as I can get a mobile signal you can charge what you like, I will just take advantage of my mobile contract.
12:15 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I expect that in time the mobile laptop connection will do to hotel internet service what cell phones did to hotel telephone service.
3:15 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Many european GSM providers will charge out of country use of data at astronomical rates, one of those things the EU is stil working on to get rid off.

Till that's done roaming your data connection is a very bad idea price-wise.

That may be true, because in many european countries people are not used to "service". Reminds me of the failed attempt of Walmart to get a foot into the german retail market.

Walmart actually tried their US concept in Germany ? ROTFL!

Did they not check minimal wages out here ? Such "service" simply is impossible to do for a discounter at our minimal wages.

1:38 pm on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My wife and I recently stayed at a US 'low end' hotel. In pricing it the 2 lowest prices only differed by an offering of 'free internet'. The lowest price had no internet and the 2nd lowest had the 'free internet'. ie more $ for free!

Package deal for business travelers on expense allotment?

4:22 pm on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you decide to charge for the wi-fi, make sure you have a good system installed so that everywhere the customer is staying has rock solid connectivity.

The hotel I stayed at last year for Pubcon charged on a 24 hour basis and my room on the 17th floor had a horrible connection, I mean truly horrible.

I complained about it on checkout and they reversed the charge, but I will never forget it, neither will your clients.

4:33 pm on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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cat.... that reminds me when I was staying in Vancouver on a high floor and it had really good wi-fi connection.

I never gave it a second thought until I saw the maids coming out of a utility room on our floor and I saw the garbage shoot with no door and a signal booster mounted right above the opening.

I thought it was funny that they took the doors off the chute and have it boosting up that shaft, makes sense though.

You could tell it wasn't their first solution by the way it was mounted. I wonder how many places they had them placed before someone came up with their current solution.