The Effect of VoIP On Hotel Broadband Prices?

by Brian McConnell

I've been traveling internationally for many years, and in the past year or so, have noticed a marked upward trend in hotel broadband internet service charges. It used to be that hotels gave the service away for free, or at most $10 per day as a way to differentiate themselves. On recent trips, I have been forced to cough up $20, sometimes $30 for Internet service.

It is a rip off, but relative to placing a call via the in room phone or mobile roaming charges, it's not an obscene rip off. So I wonder if the hotels have already gotten the message that business travelers are starting to use VoIP to make roaming calls when possible, and are seeing this in their financial reports. If so, it might explain the increasing prices, as they try to recoup money that they are no longer making from their PBXs. I rarely, if ever, place a call through a hotel switchboard.

Anyway, I wonder if the loss of voice revenue is one of the things behind otherwise inexplicably high Internet charges (not that I expect hotels to give anything away as they are, as an industry, professional theives).

2 Comments

david
2006-05-25 13:38:10
use sms much cheaper
Cope
2006-05-26 03:33:07
I read a Wall Street Journal article a couple of months ago (obviously I can't find it at the moment) which talked about this very issue. The price increases in Internet charges and other amenities (for example, have you noticed slight increases in minibar prices?) is indeed driven by declining phone revenues. But this is more or less a reaction to years of losing those revenues to cell phones and less about predicting or presently feeling lost revenue to VoIP.


I suspect once the hotel industry figure sout VoIP they'll start adding towel usage charges to cover the gaps.