Hard To Believe [6:05 am]
Hard to believe that hotels are having a hard time accepting that wireless internet is a requirement of so many travelers. I was at a Ritz last month, and you don’t want to know what I had to pay to get internet access — despite the criminally high cost of the room in the first place! Some hotels dip toes into brave new digital world — pdf
Many such hotels are trying to catch up with a population that is more comfortable with technology than ever. The $133-billion lodging industry’s cutting edge sees a business opportunity in traveling lawyers pining for high-speed Internet access, twentysomethings looking for a place to plug in their iPods and vacationers preferring YouTube over the boob tube.
But although the trend is gathering steam, it’s a tricky proposition for an industry that is more Flintstones than Jetsons.
“We’re a business that’s still trying to come to grips with the toaster,” complained John Burns, president of Hospitality Technology Consulting in Scottsdale, Ariz. “If you have to turn the knob to make it lighter or darker, we have to think about that.”
Still, customers want what they want. In a survey of business travelers this year, 58% said free high-speed Internet access was “very” or “extremely” influential in determining where they stayed — triple the proportion from five years earlier.