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Monday, January 26, 2009

$12.95 A Night???

I arrived in Portland, Oregon yesterday for a continuing education meeting. As usual for a place so far from home, I'm staying in a hotel. And like most modern hotels, they have internet access. However, unlike most modern hotels, they charge for it. And frankly, I have an issue with that.

I'm staying in the Downtown Marriott in Portland (no, I'm not afraid to mention it by name), which is otherwise a very nice hotel. I've been here many times, and have always found the facilities impecable and the staff outstanding. I have also stayed in many other hotels within the Marriott "family" of hotels, at one point having a "frequent guest" membership. In my travels I have stayed in hotels other than Marriotts, some as nice and some not as nice. Of all of those hotels, this particular one is the only one where I have been charged for internet service. I have been in hotels that are just as upscale as this one, and ones that charge a third of the nightly rate, and in all of them internet service was included in the room.

Not so for this one! They charge $12.95 per day! That's the equivalent of $388.50 for a month's worth of service for a single person!!! My normal internet service at home is about $60 per month. In this day and age, where internet service is cheap, many restaurants have it for free to their customers, and even cities are setting up free wi-fi networks, charging for it in a hotel seems outrageous. This is the kind of hotel used by frequent travelers, who are normally business people. These guests are usually on the internet frequently as part of their business. Charging this much is completely taking advantage of them.

Now, if hotels in general charged, I could understand better. But out of the dozens of hotels I've stayed at, including other Marriotts, this is the only one where I have had to pay. And that's why I have an issue with it. Last night I asked the concierge why there was a charge, and he seemed to have questions about it also. He said that the corporate offices made the decision because the other downtown hotels also charged for it. In his words, when the Hyatt started giving free internet access, so would they. This means that the actual cost of the access to the hotel is really not important. It only matters what they can get away with.

And this is why I refuse to do it. Luckily, the conference has a couple of computers that they allow people to use to check email. I'm pushing it a little by blogging, but I'm trying to do it at times when other people are less likely to be here (unforutnately, there are only two computers and about 400 attendees). But I will not pay this hotel such an outrageous price to get something that I could get for free if there was a local Panera Bread or a Holiday Inn.

Okay, I'm done ranting for now.

9 comments:

  1. Wow, that IS outrageous! I would probably fill out a comment card telling them how you feel about it, and threatening to take my business elsewhere in the future. Didn't you bring your laptop with you? I'd be finding myself a Starbucks nearby. I know that it's the principle of the matter that's hacking you off, I would feel the same way.

    Also, leave it to you to figure up the monthly charge for internet should you be stuck there for a very long time! You're such an analyst!

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  2. Fairly standard in many New Zealand hotels.... $NZ30 - which is prob about the same on current exchange rate.
    Agree - it sucks!!! We used to be able to get into our main telecom broadband provider at certain hotspots, but they sold it off...grrrr

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  3. Gotta love my analytical husband. ;)

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  4. When I was in the Dominican at a very posh four star hotel they charged $6 for 30 minutes. Ridiculous! Again, another very nice hotel I was at in Japan charged by THE MINUTE.

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  5. Remember when AOL used to charge by the minute? Do they still? (I guess all Internet used to be by the minute, now that I think of it.)

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  6. Yeah, I agree with everyone. If you use this same hotel's Business Center, it's $5.95 for 15 MINUTES! Talk about a rip-off.

    Mary, I wish I had a choice of hotels, but unfortunately I don't in this case. In other circumstances I do.

    If this was the norm, I wouldn't like it but I could understand it. However, what bothers me is the fact that I have stayed in many other hotels, a lot of them within the same corporate structure, and gotten free internet in all of those.

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  7. I wouldn't pay that either. You could just get an iPhone and blog from it like I do when I'm out of town. You can even get the latest edition of Plumb on it so you can consider it a "business" expense if you need to!

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  8. I agree that is truly ridiculous!
    I just got here from Borderblog and really enjoy your informative, yet accessible blog posts!

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  9. I read an article on this not too long ago stating that hotels catering to business people often charge for internet because most of the patrons are on corporate expense accounts and will pay, no problem (it's not their money!) Ironically, this means that higher-end places often charge when lower-end places won't. That seems to mesh with what you were told about it being a downtown hotel (and therefore probably business-traveled heavy).

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