Hotel Wi-Fi has become a flash point with business travelers (and all guests, really). It’s expected to be free and it’s expected to work. The fact that this so often is not the case is puzzling…and frustrating.
Marketing guru and entrepreneur Seth Godin posted this insight on his blog today, likening a hotel’s offerings to a buffet. A number of features—comfortable bed, quiet room, hot water, fluffy towels, Internet—are included in the room rate, an all-you-can-consume price. Godin explains:
So, the hotel that says, “With this sort of volume… we do tend to encounter a slower pace with our free wireless internet,” has completely misunderstood how to think about the free internet they offer. It’s not free. In fact, it might be the one and only reason someone picked your $400 hotel room over that hotel down the street. Sure the hot water and the towels and the quiet room are all free in the sense that they’re included in the price, but no, they’re not free in the mind of the purchaser.
The more done right, the greater the chance of a satisfied guest, repeat business and social buzz.
Guests do care about good Wi-Fi and don’t want to pay extra for it. They care a great deal. In fact, it’s consistently ranked as the number one desire of business travelers. I believe hotels are starting to “get it” but must now solve their infrastructure issues to provide this. Offering good Wi-Fi in a hotel room, like offering a comfortable bed, has become a cost of doing business.
When I checked out of a hotel with my family recently, I noticed the hotel’s feedback card had been filled out, apparently by my son. It said simply, “Fix the Internet.” Even kids know that the Internet—even when “free”—should work.