No In-Room Wi-Fi: Oh, the Inhospitality
If there’s one thing that can slow productivity to a crawl on the road, it’s no in-room wireless access. Especially when one is working on an ultrabook (or, in my case, a Macbook Air) that has no LAN port. Wi-Fi promised but not delivered beyond the hotel lobby has happened to me on so many family getaways that I’ve reached a ranting point. So here goes.
Late last week the family and I decided to get away for a long (working) weekend. A few days away from the heat in a place where the kids could fill their hours with something other than Minecraft and YouTube videos sounded like an excellent idea. Naturally, we looked for a place that promised free Wi-Fi, and settled on a family ski resort in the Berkshire Mountains that had all sorts of cool activities in the summer, such as rope climbing and zip lines. So we packed up the family truckster, sent the dog to the sitter, and made the three-hour trek to the resort.
We arrived in plenty of time to get settled in our spacious little kitchenette suite and have a drink poolside before I tried to log on. My Macbook Air could see the network fine, as could my 2-year-old’s iPad and my husband’s PC, but none of us were successful in actually connecting to the network. Which meant the adults couldn’t work in the room and my youngest couldn’t watch Dora the Explorer on Netflix. (Luckily, we packed plenty of toy trucks.) The result? I had to get up extra early each day, pad on down to the lobby in my slippers and tried to get as much work done before 9 a.m. as possible (or before my husband and son found me in the lobby, in which case I’d end up having to edit a blog while my 2-year-old climbed all over me).
Meanwhile, two doors down from our room — and farther away from the lobby — the older three kids could very easily log on to the wireless network with their machines. It was frustrating, to say the least.
As I was trying to concentrate on my work in a busy lobby and hearing so many other guests ask the desk clerk whether they should be receiving Wi-Fi in their room (and hearing a resounding “no” in response), I couldn’t help but think how much the hotel — and the entire property — could benefit from a campus-wide wireless network infrastructure. And hey, wouldn’t that be a great VAR opportunity. Come to think of it, how many hotels and ski resorts could use a wireless upgrade?
There definitely still is plenty of opportunity in the hospitality industry, especially in niche areas that might not be top of VARs’ minds. Go find those opportunities. And do it soon: I’m tired of working in hotel lobbies.