Published on: January 29, 2014by Kevin Coupe
There is a question that Michael Sansolo and I have posed over the years when talking about customer service and corporate policies that simply don't seem to make any sense.
It is this: How come the more expensive a hotel happens to be, the more likely it is that it will charge - often a lot - for internet access? And conversely, how come less expensive hotels almost always offer free Wi-Fi?
Well, National Public Radio's Marketplace has a story about this subject and concludes that there actually is a fairly simple answer to the question.
Expensive hotels charge for Wi-Fi access because they can.
It is all about price sensitivity. People who stay in expensive hotels usually have the money to pay for internet access, or they're there on business and are just going to pass on those expenses to their clients and/or employers.
They're simply not price sensitive.
On the other hand, the story says, "folks at budget hotels … are definitely price sensitive. Managers have to keep Wi-Fi free just to compete."
Marketplace reports that things may be changing: "The website HotelChatter has a long-running survey of hotel Wi-Fi. Managing editor Juliana Shalcross says nearly two-thirds of hotels offer it free, and that number's growing." In addition, "Hotels don't want angry customers in the age of online reviews and social media. Companies that give hotels a lot of business are complaining too. So many hotels are getting rid of Wi-Fi charges, which sounds great."
Except … it looks like at least some of the hotels getting rid of the Wi-Fi charges may be raising their room rates to compensate for the move.
Though I suppose they have to do something to make up for the fact that they're not making as much money as they used to on from-room phone calls (everybody uses their cell phones) and in-room movies (because we all bring our entertainment systems with us in the form of laptops and tablet computers).
It's an Eye-Opener.
- KC's View: