Time for free broadband?

In this digital age it amazes me how few restaurants and hotels realise that offering free wireless broadband to their customers would be a real incentive for us to choose their premises in preference to the cafe/restaurant/hotel next door.

Time and again I arrive at a hotel or restaurant to meet someone and have to kick my heels while I could actually be doing some work (clearing emails, monitoring news or just checking Twitter or Facebook) if they would only provide wireless access.

laptop

Offer wi-fi as a deal clincher

When I travel around the USA I deliberately look for hotels that offer free wireless access, so they get my business, while the place next door, without wireless, misses out. Wireless in a hotel is such a boon.

  • You can use it to check, or even book a restaurant.
  • You can use it to check attractions and tourist spots for the next day.
  • You can download maps and route instructions.
  • And of course you can post your photos and videos to make everyone at home feel jealous.

In Europe, however, the norm still seems to be for hotels to charge for internet access. And the charges are usually reasonably hefty.

I know the hotel business is working on tight margins (aren’t we all?), but does there not need to be a switch in mindset?

Most restaurants and hotels will want to have wireless connection for their own use. So, the wireless connection is there. Rather than offering it as a revenue raiser, use it as a ‘deal clincher’. Come to our cafe/restaurant/hotel because we offer free wi-fi. Just like those big billboards outside any American city which proclaim “free hi-speed internet” as the reason for you to choose their hotel.
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