Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hotel nickel and dime game

When people book a holiday, they are looking for value. Hotel prices are high enough in an economy that is skating on thin ice, so when you compare hotels, you're hoping that you're comparing on a level playing field. I totally understand when hotels have to charge extra for parking and why some packages include a meal while others don't.

But for the same reason that you don't charge guests to use the pool, I believe that the days of charging hotel guests for Internet connectivity should be behind us. $15 per day. That's what the Hyatt wants for Internet access in your room. Starbucks, who have a store in the lobby of the Hyatt in Vancouver, gives their Internet away for free. So you would think that this would motivate the Hyatt to give their Internet away too. You would be wrong. Worse, guests rating this hotel on Trip Advisor have complained that when a guest connected with more than one device, they were charged for $15 per day - per device. The Hyatt reimbursed them, but blamed the error on the Internet provider. Even at other hotels that charge for Internet in the room (and there aren't many), to save money you could always get free Internet at the business centre attached to the lobby. Not at the Hyatt. They want $5 just to connect for a few minutes even in their business centre.

I think the Hyatt needs to remember that holiday consumers are fickle and have a long memory. They typically don't return when the bed is uncomfortable, or when the room is in poor shape, or in this case, when they feel they're being nickled and dimed for what should be an inclusive service.

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