Signal Strength Low
By Elana Centor on July 29, 2006
BlogHer Original Post
If you can get over the fact that the hotel doesn't have an elevator and you have to drag your oversized suitcase up the stairs (yes, I could have asked the bellman for help), the rooms are fine. In fact, they are lovely. The bed is comfy. I have a bathrobe and slippers. There's a balcony.The air conditioning works. It's San Jose. It's delightful.
The price is definitely right .Since I am here to attend Blogher 06, I am paying the conference room rates. They are very reasonable. I'm happy with everything--except the one thing that really matters -- THE SIGNAL STRENGTH.
Did I mention that there are 700 women bloggers attending this conference--that would be 700 women with laptops who expect to use them on a regular and frequent basis?
I wouldn't call it a disaster-- people are having way to much fun to allow a little thing like technology ruin the conference, but it's definitely a strain particularly for the women who are trying to "live blog" the conference.
Signal Strength Matters.
Even before the random access, I was less than pleased with the wireless setup at the hotel. They still charge for Internet access. I am not amused. My expectation is that free Internet access is an amenity. I am not alone in my expectations.
Last October, Wi-Fi NEWS reported on the situation, sharing links to articles in both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The two papers had different takes on the situation. While the WSJ ( subscription required -when will they ever learn?) reported on the trend to offer this as a free service.....
"Robert Mandelbaum of PKF Hospitality Research, an industry adviser, estimates that from 2000 to 2004, hotels lost 55% of the revenue they used to make from telecommunications. One of the only areas where they're turning profits on in-room technology is from Internet fees.
In an attempt to win and retain customers, hotels have recently pushed hard to upgrade their rooms with everything from flat-screen television sets to pillow-topped mattresses and 350-thread-count sheets. Complimentary high-speed Internet access is just the latest move in the hotel industry's amenities arms race."
The NY Times (subscription required --when will they learn?) business columnist Joe Sharkey wrote about the tendency for the "big hotels" to charge for wireless access.
"...the pricier the hotel, the more likely you are to pay an extra fee to check your e-mail from your room, said Bjorn Hanson, the head of the hospitality and leisure division at PricewaterhouseCoopers. That is because three-star chains like Hilton's Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites and Marriott's Courtyard, Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn cater to price-conscious travelers, while the swankier names figure you won't much care about the extra few bucks.
Corporate travel managers are now trying to negotiate with four-star and five-star hotel brands to include Internet access in the room charge in future contracts, Mr. Hanson said.
If the hotels are smart, they will concede the point. While baby boomers still outnumber them, Generation Xers spend more per capita on business travel, and have little patience for either dial-up connections or the general idea of paying for high-speed Internet access, which they have been accustomed to having free since college.
Moreover, with two-thirds of business travelers now using computers in their hotel rooms and with those in sales and training jobs often juggling big download files, the fees are becoming more of an irritant to just about everybody."
After a day of getting kicked off the Internet at the most inopportune times, I went to the front desk to discuss the fees. The women at the front desk indicated that they could not remove the charge from my room because it's billed to an outside service. She agreed to leave a message for the manager.
This morning, living by the motto that "hope runs eternal" and thinking that the hotel technical staff had to have spent the entire night figuring out what was wrong, I again paid my $9.95 for a day of access. I was just getting ready to hit the submit button for my reservations at the Metropolitan Doubletree in NYC for a trip next week when I lost signal strength--again.
So instead of making my reservations on line, I called and talked to a very friendly reservation assistant. Parochial for sure, but it worked.
Oh, and it looks like I will have to pay $10.77 for Internet access in New York....unless I go to a coffee shop or park--it seems like you can get free access just about anywhere you want--except where you need it.
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