I’ve just come across an initiative by Silicon.com to try and pressure hotel owners to push down the price of WiFi services they offer. Most hotels in the UK treat WiFi as a commodity and charge ridiculous rates for usage .. £20 an hour is not uncommon. The campaign seems to have a lot of support from the business world who believe are quite ready to pay a fair fee, but reluctant to subsidise rip-off rates.
I think the perfect quote is comes from Nigel Wallbridge, chairman of Nomad Digital who says:
“Unoccupied rooms cost a lot more than free or discounted wi-fi access, yet very few hotels in Europe, unlike North America, are currently considering this as a way to get more guests through the door.”
Hoteliers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition and most aren’t using this. Instead they use WiFi as a profit center which just means that less people use it in the long run. In a competitive market, hoteliers should take advantage of extra frills which don’t really cost them much compared to other costs they have to face, and use this to make their offering more attractive to their customers. I personally think it’s only a matter of time before the situation changes in favour of their clients, so better capitalise on it while they can.
In the meantime, if you want to end extortionate WiFi pricing in hotels, sign the campaign here.