I ran across this article while exploring Digg (a new social bookmarking/news aggregation site). It is a rant against the ongoing failure of promised Internet access that author George Spafford keeps running across in business hotels. Spafford writes:
When I talk to the hotels, it's almost like they equate the high-speed Internet to an amenity for the kids to play with versus a mission-critical service for business travelers.
Amen. It is an absolute scandal how bad Internet access is in even major chain hotels. I choose the hotels I stay in based on their promised access, and when it doesn't deliver, I am stuck at unacceptibly low levels of productivity. And I agree with Spafford. I'll pay for something that works!
I have a message for the hotels – “I will pay.” I don't care if I pay $10/night just so long as I can count on the connectivity and have decent performance. Free is meaningless to me if I can't do my job. Charge money and make lots of money, but put in a good system designed by professionals! My time, and everyone else's, is worth too much and any significant constraint they put on my speed hampers my ability to work and thus service my clients.
That being said, I will NOT pay upwards of $200 per high speed drop in their conference rooms. It drives me absolutely crazy how expensive technology is when you are planning a meeting or conference. $700 for a projector, $200 for a high speed drop, $200 for a screen - one day quickly rises to excesses of $1000. And forget providing access to your attendees.
Reliable, inexpensive (if not free) high speed internet throughout their properties is now an absolute necessity. The hotels and conference centers that figure this out will quickly win in the marketplace.