News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Matt Harvey
I wanted to respond to the article "Free Wi-Fi or Bust - It's Free at McDonalds, Why Pay for it at a Hotel?" since it presents a very one sided view of both the state of the hotel HSIA business and the needs of the travelling public.
What the writer must recognize is that not all travelers have the same needs as himself and hotel guests no longer fit into a “take it or leave it” type charging model. I recently heard a great phrase which goes, “a customer asking for Internet might as well be asking the restaurant for food”. The analogy here being that while some users define Internet access in terms of responding to email, updating social networking sites, keeping up with the news etc other users might define it as the ability to stream movies from popular video sites, hold video conferences, say goodnight to their kids over webcam, share desktops and increasingly, hook into their corporate voice solution. These two different uses are very different in terms of the cost of providing the service and the value placed upon it by the user.
The key here is that the definition of good Internet access varies wildly depending on the guest profile in the establishment in question. Here’s two contrasting examples;
McDonalds Guest Profile
Upper Upscale Hotel Guest Profile
Just as in the domestic market, there should be a choice for the customer about what service they need with an appropriate price. Many hotels are now exploring “Freemium” as a business model for HSIA, providing a basic level of service for free (or included in the room rate) and a premium level of service for those who need extra. See this recent article as an example http://www.ibahn.com/en-us/index.php?cid=1624&detail=y&story=1656.
In conclusion, there is definitely a place in the hotel industry which caters to specific guest profiles for free Internet. However, we are far from “Free Wi-Fi or Bust.”
Director, Network Services
PSAV® Presentation Services
Wi-Fi or Bust - It's Free at McDonalds, Why Pay for it at a Hotel?
Telecom Revenue Drops to Record Lows for Myrtle Beach Hoteliers /