Makeover needed: Web access on the road


It's not that I object to paying for web access while I'm traveling. Yes, I emphatically believe that it enhances a place's image to offer Web access for free, the way running water and heat are part of the package. Still, connectivity costs money to install and maintain, so I can deal with renting as long as the fee is reasonable.

What stinks is how it's dispensed. The billing increments are usually completely disconnected from the reality of how people actually use the web on the road. And that turns a sensible fee into something idiotic.

Hotels. Every place I check into offers the web these days. The smart ones, such as chains like Hyatt Place and Hampton Inn and nearly every privately owned hotel, offer it for free. They see it as an easy way to bait the hook. And I bite. I admit I am more likely to choose a hotel with free access than one that makes me pay. I know I'm not alone in this. But the ones that charge do so stupidly. Access comes in 24-hour increments there.

Now, think about this. You're going to check in at around 4 p.m. at the earliest. And you're going to leave at around 10 a.m. in the morning if you're lucky. That's about 18 hours. Business travelers will spend even less time than that in their rooms.