Hotel Internet Access for Guests

One of the more often debated topics in hotel technology is internet access for guests. The debate is whether to give away Internet or charge for it or some combination of the two. Many who have engaged me in this debate know that I am a proponent of a mix. I am a big proponent that if you don’t charge for electricity or water or basic TV channels then you should not charge for basic internet service. I get criticized for reducing internet access to a basic utility but this is how most of our guests look at it.

I am not advocating that you provide multi-megabit service for free. But just as we provide basic TV viewing, providing basic internet access is a standard amenity that should be provided. If you charge a resort fee to provide TV, phone and other services then including internet fees there works too.

That said I am also in the business of helping hoteliers figure out how to make money from all these technologies. With that in mind comes the idea of providing steps to our guests so that those that want a more luxurious Internet experience are able to purchase and consume it at a level that they desire.

There have been a few examples from the music industry which I believe provide a good lesson on how to serve an entire customer base. Nine Inch Nails awhile back served their segmented customer base providing songs for free to download at the low end while selling a box set of the same music with memorabilia for $300. The basic music was the same but the experience for the customer was entirely different.

I believe that the same should be true for Internet access. The base service should be free and easy. There should also be tiers that let a customer choose to experience the Internet at the level that they need or that their budget allows. Using this stepped approach ensures the customer gets the experience they want while still providing a revenue stream to the hotelier.

I acknowledge that there are other opinions on this. Hoteliers pay a significant expense installing and maintaining the infrastructure for guest Internet. But done right that same infrastructure should be providing other value as well. And overall, it should be a win-win for hotelier and guest together.

Educational reform and funding

This is not directly about technology or related subjects but something I feel strongly about. The education of our kids. Recently, pink slips were given to number of teachers in my daughters school district because funding was going to fall short. One of the major areas was the performing arts and specifically music. I grew up in band playing trombone with some of the best teachers around. Winning championships, marching in Rose Parades, World Series, countless band reviews and a tour of Australia. I can directly trace some of my understanding of logic and teamwork to my music and experiences.

I have two issues with the recent pink slip issuance. One is the idea that we cut programs entirely or reduce the money allocation. I look at the amounts that are allocated per student and wonder how even on the reduced amounts, there is not a way to make it work. The other issue is that less productive teachers with seniority are being kept while others who are clearly better teachers as acknowledged by their peers, students and parents, are given the slips.

I’m a fan of some of the models Bill Gates has presented about education. #WashingtonPostArticle# I believe as far as compensation, teachers are more like engineers wishing to have a guaranteed base with bonus potential rather than a truly variable commission structure. But I believe without incentives, most individuals will not rise to their best. For the sake of our kids and future, we need to figure this out.

1 million purchased

I was looking on LivingSocial today and remembered that I had forgotten to purchase the Fandango deal earlier this week. When I checked and saw 1 million had been purchased, equating to 2 million tickets, it occurred to me how powerful this is. That’s 9 million dollars going through the web site in one day. I’m not sure how many of the Amazon certificates they sold but I would guess that it was similar.

What does this tell me? Consumers are spending money. Deals are still driving sales for items that people want and use. And if there are many like me, then Living Social likely could have sold double what they did. With most movies lasting 90 minutes, thats 1.5 million hours spent in movie theaters. Not to mention the 6 dollar drinks and 5 dollar popcorn!

Verizon iPhone – I can hear you now!

I received my Verizon iPhone today. I’ve had mobile phone service since 1985 through Pac Bell, AirTouch and all the other iterations up to Verizon Wireless. But when the iPhone came out, I got an AT&T account as well and have used it as my primary phone for a few years. So will I switch back?

First glance:

Data & Speed: I’ve decided that if I really need to be on the phone and use the data connection at the same time, I am rarely not within a WiFi zone. So that doesn’t bother me. Running speed tests from a few locations in the Las Vegas area this morning I found that AT&T does have some slightly fast data speeds but at best it’s 2368kbps vs 2011kbps.  I can live with that.

Converting / Restore: I restored the backup of my AT&T iPhone and it notified me one app, PageOnce, had an invalid signature. Another app, PocketScan, failed to restore for some misc reason.  I also noticed my song count is off by about 20 songs out of about 2000. Not sure where they went but I’ll look into it. Other than that, the restore appeared to be a great success. If anyone is interested, my critical apps are Toodledo, Evernote, and Trillian. Other apps of personal value are Pandora, Tweetdeck, Facebook and Mashable.

Phone Calls: Vegas has good AT&T coverage except when big conventions come to town or in some of the casinos. I’ll test this out further as I go. But I look forward to my drive to California tomorrow to watch my AT&T signal go away and still have a few bars on my Verizon iPhone!

Tethering: I tested using the phone as a WiFi hotspot and it worked well. .8Mb/s down and .4Mb/s up. I can live with that was well. I’ll test it against the MiFi in a few days.

Should I have waited for the iPhone 5? Well since I pass my technology down to other family members, I’m sure nobody minds another iPhone 4 in the mix. I’ll likely still upgrade in June just like I always have.

Otherwise than above, it really is an apples to apples conversion. 🙂

CES 2011 takeaways

Overload of stuff. All good stuff though. But what were my impressions about technology and products.

Television bezels are getting thinner and thinner with almost all picture and no frame.

3D without glasses is getting better but not quite here.

There are enough tablets being shown that they may move beyond tech enthusiasts to everyday users.

My phone can do everything I want including make a phone call IF i happen to be within a good coverage area.

Technology acceptance and use is at an all time high and rapidly increasing. This is one industry that is not having a recession.

Microsoft takes 30 days to process digital order?

I recently renewed my Microsoft Action Pack. This is a benefit that Microsoft provides to it’s partners allowing then to use, demonstrate and close sales on Microsoft technologies to increase productivity at customers business’s. I went online, completed the information and paid with a credit card. Very smooth, or so I thought…

I needed to download something over the weekend to show and got the message that I didn’t have access. I checked my credit card statement and indeed, the charge had gone through. Thinking it was just a system error, I emailed to inquire but didn’t quite know what to think of the response

Thank you for your inquire however, the Partner Network states that the order could take up to 30 business days to process… WHAT? 30 days to process an all electronic order for a digital download. I ordered a product from a neighbor of Microsoft’s,, on a Saturday and had my product delivered to my doorstep on Monday.  And Microsoft can take up to 30 days for a digital download? Maybe the folks in Redmond need to take a field trip down the road to see how internet commerce should really work.

Smart Interactions

Smart Phones have become an industry upon themselves. Even I sometimes wonder what I would do if I couldn’t play chess or wordwarp on my iPhone. But do applications really make a phone smart?

If there is an APP for That then there also needs to be an application for that App. And to be truely smart that application should involve interactions with other applications, data or devices.

A device isn’t truely smart unless it has something to be smart with. Knowledge isn’t power unless it’s shared and applied. In a connected, smart world this is even more the case.

Smart phones and Smart Devices in general need to interact, share data and as a group, create better information and environments. I’ve worked for several years on bringing networks that were once individual silos of information together. But only in the past few years has the integration of the devices on those converged networks begun to interact natively. Here is where the power of smart devices really pays off. When they talk together and no longer require a master router/gateway/controller to interpret and be a point of contention and failure. It is when we have a true collective of individual components that we really achive a smart world.

Let me know your thoughts!

The future looks cloudy

I’ve followed cloud computing for a while with great anticipation of it’s potential. Although I still see some issues with security and management, the current range of companies offering services fits many current needs at prices that are cost effective and versitality that exceeds what any company (or individual) may need.

Elastisity is a term I associate most with the cloud. Todays computing environment has many ebbs and flows and the cloud allows you to plan for the median rather than the extremes. I am a fan of Amazon Web Services (Check my facebook page to verify!) which I believe has one of the best Cloud Computing offerings. From low level to high level to storage, Amazon is excelling at this.

What’s this got to do with Hotels, Casinos, and/or Real Estate? Computing is a resource that does not need to be located locally with the user. All three of these industries have limited space or have better use of space than to have computing resources stored and managed locally. We have used Citrix, Terminal Server and other products to move applications to a manageable environment. Moving applications into the Cloud is the next eveolution of this access.

Check out Amazon Web Services (AWS) and let me know what you think. Also in my list are

Google: Is it evil to want to dominate the Internet?

Microsoft Azure: It is evil to want to dominate computing worldwide but they do bring better things to life. (whoops, wrong company tagline!)

AT&T Synaptic services: I’ve always like the core AT&T technologies and this is core.

And GoGrid: I hae a collegue talking this company up but need to do some more research. They sound good!

Cloud Computing is on an early adoption stage much like the internet of the 90’s. It will grow. It will suceed. It is here to stay.

Technology and Management Consulting for Residential, Hospitality, Casino Gaming and Tech Companies

%d bloggers like this: