Blayne Slabbert at Stuff writes:
When staying at a hotel would you rather have Sky TV or free wi-fi? What about a bath big enough for three or free wi-fi?
I would definitely opt for the free wi-fi and I expect I’m not alone. Not only do I want it for free, I want it to be a decent speed.
I think 95% of customers would prefer wi-fi to television. And while nothing is free, the question is whether it should be included in the room charge.
I think it should be. Making you pay extra for Internet is like having a charge for water. And even worse some of the charges are so high you pay more per day in a hotel than your normal monthly cost.
But many top hotels in New Zealand and around the world still charge for wi-fi and a lot have internet speeds that would be classified as dial-up.
During a recent stay at an international hotel chain, the staff at the front desk told me that it charged $8 an hour to access the internet.
Like being back in 1996!
A website, hotelwifitest.com, helps people find good wi-fi at hotels around the world.
It ranks hotels, including those in New Zealand, getting users to submit speed tests and then ranks them according a star rating.
But according to a survey by management consultants Accenture, free in-room Internet access was ranked the second most important factor after room cost in choosing a hotel.
In NZ I tether my laptop to my phone so not such an issue. But when picking where to stay overseas, wifi cost is a major factor.
Still, I’m hopeful wi-fi will be free and fast in all hotels within a few years and we’ll look back and laugh at the concept of paying extra to access the internet.
I wonder if once upon a time hotels charged you for the electricity you consumed?
It is getting better though. I note that Sky City no longer charges for Internet but has free wireless through the complex. It’s great to be able to just use it without even needing a login. And it is fast – faster than the old paid wifi you used to have.