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More Hotel WiFi Lunacy

By: Tim Russell Posted: November-24-2010 in
Tim Russell

By far the most popular blog posting I’ve made all year was my September piece about hotel wifi charges, about how 5* hotels have the nerve to charge for internet access on top of their already high room rates, while 3* hotels usually provide it for free. A good example is the Ibis on Bencoolen St in Singapore, where I stayed during this year’s ITB Asia - it offered the cheapest rates of any central 3*-standard hotel during the event, but wifi was free throughout the property (as was ironing - they have a special ironing room which guests can use free of charge, a great idea).

But elsewhere, the madness continues. Yesterday evening a friend told me of his experiences at one 5* property in Saigon, which, as it’s right opposite his company’s new HQ, they chose for a full-day training session. Now bear in mind that my friend’s company employs 350 people in Saigon and spends over $40,000 a year on meetings & other functions in hotels.

Yesterday they held a training day for 20 staff, which, with lunch thrown in, cost them around $25 per person. They arrived at the hotel to find there was no wifi in the meeting room, and requested the login & password for this. The hotel said they could do this at the usual rate of $15 per person per day! Assuming they were joking, they asked again, and were given a “special offer” of $7.50 per person! The hotel wouldn’t budge any further from this rate.

Are these people absolutely insane? Jeopardising $40,000 worth of business to charge $150 for a service that costs the hotel nothing to begin with? Because obviously the company in question is now going to take their business elsewhere, and rightly so.

Such cases are not rare in Vietnam, where a short-term mentality prevails, long-term relationships have no value and people would rather have $150 in their hand today than $40,000 tomorrow. But if I was the GM of this hotel and I found out about this lunacy, heads would be rolling…


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