Friday, May 24, 2002

Hilton Garden Inn Testing Free Internet Access

When the chain’s access provider went bankrupt, however, [Hilton Garden Inn manager] Kurre began hooking up guest rooms free of charge to the hotels’ own [high speed] internal lines. The free service, which is being tested at three dozen Hilton Garden Inns, has increased the usage rate to 25 percent [from 3 percent, when the hotel charged $9.95/night]. But isn’t Kurre losing money by giving away a service he once tried to sell? “ I’m leaving zero revenue on the table because I’m making it back on rate and occupancy,” he says. “Travelers are checking out of other hotels and coming to us and paying $5- to-$6 more a night just to get the high-speed access free.” [Joe Bercantelli’s Tactical Traveler]

Amen. Charge me whatever you want – just give me high speed access. I’m sick and tired of dialing up on rusted copper. I actually connected to AT&T’s network this week at 12,400 baud (on a 56k modem). I wrote about this a few months ago; I’m thrilled to see that some hotels are getting creative. I haven’t stayed in a non-Hilton chain hotel in nearly a year (I’m a slave to the HHonors program, where I’m a Diamond member), but I would switch allegiance in a heartbeat if it meant I could have reliable connectivity when I travel. Are any chains listening?

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