Hotel Internet per-laptop? You’re obsolete!

I’m here in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show and it’s been a great show, well worth the time and expense. I’ve stayed at the Wynn hotel, which has proven great, a lovely big room, sectional sofa, quiet, upscale, and very well thought out.
Except for Internet access.
As has become common with Internet access in hotels, the Wynn charges not by room for Internet access, but by computer, so that they can maximize their revenue: share a room and each of you pays for Internet access. At $13.99/day that can add up.

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The problem is, we’ve moved beyond a single Internet access device per traveler, and I have three devices of my own that want to get their moment of Internet sunshine: My laptop, my iPad and my iPhone 4. According to hotel policies, that’d be 3*13.99 or $41.97/day for Internet access.
Worse, though, my roomie also has a laptop, smartphone and iPad, so between us they’d be collecting a staggering $83.94/day for Internet access. For a three day conference, that’s over $300 for Internet.
Clearly this is an outdated way of charging for access, to say the least!
I can appreciate the dilemma of the hotels, particularly a $2 billion casino and hotel like The Wynn: they have to generate revenue every way that they can. The problem is, I’d be pretty darn upset if they hit me up for a $300 Internet bill!
They could actually just ask how many laptops or computers you need, or each access token could be good for two devices, say, a laptop and a smart phone, but as it stands, I think they’re going to find more and more that Internet access is a pain point for business travelers, whether they’re here in Las Vegas or elsewhere in the world.
Btw, we solved the Internet access dilemma by bringing a wifi router which we plugged into the Ethernet jack in the room, then we’re using it as our base station for wifi access. It’s authorized and we’re good to go with as many devices as we’d like.

6 comments on “Hotel Internet per-laptop? You’re obsolete!

  1. Saw this in Detroit recently. Not at my hotel where the wifi was open but at the nicer hotel downtown. 13.95/connection.
    Wow. Ended up the roomies took turns for the night. Funny thing is in the lobby area of the building the wifi was free.

  2. I do the same as you, I always travel with a wireless router. For just that reason. My router also has 3G connectivity via a USB Verizon card, which I can also use directly in my laptop if I don’t want to hook up the router for some reason. In the US, I usually use the 3G connection, more than fast enough and no additional cost. Outside the country that isn’t a reasonable option, so I’m generally stuck using the router on the hotel’s Internet.
    I work on a lot of these hotel networks, my company’s software powers quite a few hotels’ Internet, and I haven’t see this changing much as of yet. With the trend being multiple devices per person I think it will with time. I carry 5 Internet-connected devices myself alone when traveling, two laptops, iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Not even counting the router. For the time being, unfortunately a router is a must-carry item for travelers who want to connect multiple devices without paying an arm and a leg.

  3. I had an even worse experience at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas — I had checked out of my room but needed to work for several more hours before my flight. I headed down to one of the the 2 Starbucks inside the hotel thinking I could use their wireless. Nope. Headed to the concierge who spent 45 minutes on the phone with various people trying to figure out how I could access the internet in their hotel. Finally they sent me to their conference rooms area. I sat down, booted up my laptop, only to discover there was a $100 fee to use the internet!!!

  4. Internet connectivity is now a major decision-making factor whenever I plan my travel itinerary, whether it’s to go on a business trip or on vacation with my family. Unfortunately, most hotels still haven’t gone the way of free wifi. In my family of 5, each member has a laptop and an iPhone or an Android, and I’ve got an iPad as well. You can just imagine how much it’ll cost to have each device connected in a hotel. My mobile router has become an invaluable gadget that I never leave home without.

  5. As a busy professional who travels alot for work access to internet connectivity is something I always look for in a hotel. Whoever thought of free Wi-Fi is a genius. It’s too bad that more hotels don’t offer that, however, and instead try to nickel-and-dime us, as you highlight.

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