In his High Flyer column for Fairfax Media – appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times, Brisbane Times and WA Today – AusBT editor David Flynn covers issues, strategies and tips for business travellers and frequent flyers. This week: should hotels set wi-fi free?
It's a sore point, and usually a controversial one, for every business traveller. You check into a five-star hotel where one night in a mid-range room can cost more than your weekly rent, only to be hit up for $20 or more for internet access.
Little wonder that Tourism Australia's campaign for free wi-fi in Aussie hotels has met with a thumbs-up from the corporate crowd.
And in an age when almost every backpacker hostel offers free wi-fi, it's commercial arrogance for a top-end hotel to slug guests extra to use the internet.
Why treat business travellers worse than backpackers? "Because we can get away with it" or "Because they can claim it back" is not the correct answer.
Ironically, the main argument hotels trot out against free internet access is that unlike a decade ago, today almost everybody is online.
And with so many travellers packing tablets, smartphones and low-cost laptops, hotels fear that almost every guest will use free wi-fi if it's offered.
Yet those are the very reasons why in-room internet should be free. It's about looking after your customers' needs, especially when there's so much great info about travel, local dining and nightlife online.
But just how realistic is the call to set wi-fi free?
Head over to this week's High Flyer column for more on the contentious issue of hotel wi-fi and some ways to beat that in-room Internet bill.