Charging for Internet access is obsolete. Hotels are trying to rip profit from Internet access the way they tried and failed with telephone calls. The way to win in the market is to provide free access and a big screen terminal. Great coffee is next.
Think of all the services hotels supply without charge, water, electricity, sewerage, refrigeration. They all cost money to supply. Hotels do not charge for them because the cost is constant and is built into the basic room charge. Internet access is almost the same. For water, the hotel pays a constant fee for the connection and a relatively small charge for the water used.
The Internet is similar to water. You pay more for the connection than you pay for the data. You have to use a lot of data to be charged extra and then it is usually cheaper to step up to a different service level. Internet use is as common as water use. There is no reason to charge extra.
Hotels supply standard basic water and charge extra for mineral water, sparkling water, and all the fancy variations. Hotels should provide basic standard Internet access for free then offer higher speed access as an option.
The basic access should let us look up theatres, restaurants, maps, transport, and check email. Extra changes could be set for the access speed required for downloading movies or uploading 3000 holiday pictures.
Screens and keyboards are so cheap that a hotel could put a basic screen and keyboard in every room to let us look up everything. That would save the cost of printing all those stupid directories that are usually out of date. The hotels can then charge restaurants for advertising on the directory home page.
The high cost charged for basic access is now obsolete because the alternatives are so cheap. Last night I stayed in a serviced apartment where they charge $6 for one hour of access or $20 per day. I booked a package including some extras of use to me and the Internet access was included in the package. I had to use a user/password combination to access the network and the user/password was not included in the information sheet provided when I checked in. I had to call reception. Access was already too difficult. I used it for one minute but the total time wasted ten minutes.
Compare that to buying a portable wireless hub at $150 with enough data access included to last me almost a year. That works out at less than a dollar per day for use anywhere. All my family can connect at the same time through the one hub. If I did upload 3000 holiday photographs week, the hub would use up the data allocation faster and the cost would average $2 per day, still cheaper than the $20 per day charged by hotels.
Mobile phones (cell phones) give you the same access options depending on the phone and the service provider. There are hundreds of combinations possible. The worst are as slow and expensive as the access provided by hotels. The best choices are as economical as the wireless hub mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Mobile phones have a battery life varying from a few days to the pathetic few hours of the early iPhones. Some of the phones last a long time in really good reception areas where they can transit on..., lets skip the technical detail, they vary by a huge amount and I can lead you through the details if you are about to buy a mass of machines for your company.
When you access the Internet through your phone, you decrease battery life. If you have the wrong phone, a separate hub is useful.
You can get USB attached access devices and they drain the power from your notebook computer instead of your phone, an advantage if your notebook has lots of power. The USB attached options serve only on computer. The USB devices include special models for remote areas. There is more choice in USB devices than across all the phones.
Modern netbook and notebook models include 3G and 4G wireless access. Tablet computers, which are just notebook computers with the keyboard removed, offer the same option. Pads, which are tablets with some more features removed and should be cheaper but are often more expensive, offer 3G and will one day catch up with 4G wireless access.
The cost of access through phones and other devices varies from punishingly exorbitant when you are trapped in a contract, down to a very small additional cost on top of your phone calls. The thing that makes Internet access on phones cost $1000 per month, instead of $10 per month, are all the downloaded applications constantly sending data back to their Web sites so the Web site owners can track you and sell the information.
When you choose the right phone and the right contract for your use, Internet access is cheap and you are charged only for the days you use it, not every day the way you are charged when you sign up for a 420 per day at your hotel.
You would think every hotel would finally wake up to the facts that they strangled the market until most regular travellers bring their own access and their best option for future income is to provide Internet access free in every room with their Web site as the first we see.