This Saturday is hard. Not only I had to get up at 7am – pretty early for me on any given day, let alone Saturday. I had to drive all the way to Long Island. As I am blogging this, I am sitting in the lobby on Long Island Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. This is March 2008 and it’s almost 30 miles from New York City. The cell phone even shows 3G network. Which I am comfortably using.
Guess what? The wireless internet connection that is redundant and free less then 30 miles from here costs $2.95 for 25 minutes, with $.25 each additional minute. Or you can pay $19.95 per 24 hours of wireless internet. It’s a same scam that other hotels running.
Imagine a hotel charging you additional money for using a water fountain. Or a restroom. Or timing you sitting in those supposedly comfortable chairs in the lobby. Two dollars per 30 minutes of sitting, after your time expires some hotel worker comes to your chair and throws you out unless you pay more money. Personally, I don’t see any reason why hotels wouldn’t do that.
One might argue that the infrastructure costs money. Sure it does, but I’d be delighted if someone would provide any real-world numbers as to how much hotels make off of the paid internet connectivity. And how much they loose. Being a small business owner myself, I am very conscious when it comes to additional and hidden charges. So if I would come up with the idea of having a seminar here or there, the fact that anyone coming to my conference (say it’ll last for 4 hours) would have to cough up anywhere between 12 and 20 bucks just to check their e-mail, take their notes online or blog about the event would be embarrassing.
Of course, it’s capitalism out there and people wouldn’t stop having meetings and conferences and seminars at hotels just because of outrageous prices for internet connectivity. Bus someone must bring hotel management up to speed with the outside world. Next time some doctor decides to have a meeting at a hotel’s conference center this Marriott may just be out of luck. Just because people use internet more then for 25 minutes at a time.