Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
First published 21st November, 2010
I'm writing this story on a laptop that isn't connected to the internet. It's not connected to the internet even though the hotel has WiFi access. It's not connected via the WiFi access because although I am staying in what I believe is the most expensive room on the property (US$120++), the access isn't free. I'm not happy and when a guest isn't happy, the hotel loses.
Here are some reasons why hotels should not charge extra for internet:
It wastes everybody's time
At this hotel, rates start at 50,000 rupiah (around US$5) for an hour's access. I have to walk up to reception (there are no phones in the rooms — now that I am okay with), request the access, wait for five minutes while the staff tap on a keyboard interminably, then find an unprofessional scrap of paper to write down my username and password on. I have to head back to my room, fire up the laptop, connect to the router log in using the newly-supplied username and password (presuming I haven't lost the piece of paper) and get to work.
When I want another hour, I have to repeat the process and take up the time of staff again who should be doing something better with their time. As I should be.
Many guests need internet access for their work
When I travel, I don't want internet access, I need it. I have an online business to run, and I need to have access to it on daily — that is, every single day, whether I am working or on a holiday. Internet access, for me, has become a make or break deal when selecting a place to stay.
When travelling alone I'm not fussed about TV, air-con, a bar fridge or even hot water, but I do need WiFi. Did you get that? Put a big sticker on the front door reading "Free WiFi" and believe me as long as you're not charging the earth and there aren't any dead dogs in the stairwell, you've got my custom.
Many guests use it for fun
More and more people use social media when they are holidaying. If I can't get hotel internet access, I can't check in to Foursquare, I can't tweet how much I love my room, and I can't post the pix I've taken on my iPhone (if I had one) straight to Facebook so all my friends can be envious and check out the hotel's website immediately.
Of course, the downside is going to be that guests might complain; but you've got a social media person to monitor that, right? If you're on the ball it's a way for switched on hotels to nip any problems in the bud — and probably get a public thank you as well.
It should be a normal cost of doing business
I expect to be charged a breakdown of services when I am flying on a low cost carrier. But when I am paying for a decent hotel room, I expect electricity, I expect hot running water, and these days I expect to be able to use my laptop — all with no additional charge.
Don't bleat to me about the costs of setting it up. I don't care. What did it cost you to install hot water? If you can't afford to provide this service for free, then just don't provide it at all and make a fuss about how you want your guests to be relaxed (and, also, never to come back).
When I use your internet access I will spend more time at your hotel
When I have internet access in my guesthouse room, I'll more likely avail myself of your room service and I'll most certainly drink the bar fridge dry.
When I don't have internet access in my room, I'll go eat and drink in a cafe somewhere else that offers it for free. Generally speaking, it seems that the owner of the crappy beachside shack I work at many days has better business sense than the owner of the property I'm currently staying in.
A final word: Offer it for free or not at all
If you can't "afford" to offer internet access for free then don't offer it. Really, just don't bother. In charging for it, all you're doing is grabbing a few short-term dollars that will cost you future long-term business.
Read 21 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (19)
- All stories
- Angkor Hospital For Children
- Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- Free the Bears Laos
- Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Khlong Toey Music Program
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- MyME Yangon
- Soi Dog Foundation
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma ()
- Cambodia (9)
- Indonesia (4)
- Laos ()
- Malaysia (1)
- Singapore ()
- Thailand (28)
- All stories
- 31 Thai islands
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Great Thai food blogs
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yai?
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Should I cancel my trip to Thailand? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (5)
- Accommodation guides (3)
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (17)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Christmas and New Years in Southeast Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Great river trips in Southeast Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- Ten thoughts on ten years with Travelfish
- Where is the best place in Southeast Asia for ...
- How do I? (6)
- Cycling Asia (12)
- Health and safety (5)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (4)
- Photo essay ()
- Guest blog (1)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (18)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Asok
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Siam
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.