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Free wifi
31/05/2013
Author: Michelle Dalley

Here it is an opinion.  All mine,

Free wifi – is that too much to ask for?

I was introduced at an event to a senior board member of one of the major hotel chains, he asked me “how could we improve the service in our hotels”.  My answer was simple, not the price of coffee or food (although that could well be another blog now I think about it – hotel food prices are out of control!).  The answer was “free wifi”.

If you know me from my corporate world then you will remember that I lived up and down the motorway network and held most of my meetings in pubs, restaurants, motorway services and receptions of hotels.

Fast forward to 2013 and we are pretty much all using email on our mobile, viewing websites and video on tablets and used to the idea that the world is accessible.

Obviously I have 3g on my phone and tablet, but being in a design company I also have HUGE data consumption and a need in most meetings to access the web – therefore I really prefer to use wifi.

I am not alone, many companies in a recent survey stated that they choose their meeting venues based on free wifi.  Although it was not necessarily the main reason, it was a top three criteria for 75% of the respondents.

I point blank refuse to pay for wifi, it’s like the old scam of overpriced telephone calls from hotel rooms before we all got mobile phones.  When was the last time you used a hotel phone other than to call reception?  EXACTLY! It seems that the hotel groups missed that highly profitable revenue off their bottom lines and replaced it with wifi revenue!  Scandalous!  Ask them what their broadband bill is and then the profit they make.

On that basis, here are the criteria I use for choosing my meeting venues – quality of location, standard of coffee, parking, wifi.  If any one of those points fail then it gets struck off the list.

Back to the point and down off my soap box, I shared this very opinionated rant with the Director of the hotel chain.  His answer was that until one of the other major chains changed their policy things would stay the same.  They all had contingency plans to put free wifi in when the market changed.

I am delighted to say that the major hotel chain has just put up huge external banners advertising free wifi in public places (still ripping off the hotel residents though I see).  Anyway, for me this is great news and means that the excellent venue not far from the office will become my new and favourite bolt hole.

 

Written by Michelle Dalley (on her soap box)

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