I recently went to an event launching WiFi at all Tsogo Sun properties around the country. Press release blurb starts here:
In its ongoing quest to create great experiences, Tsogo Sun has installed high speed quality connectivity Wi-Fi in all its hotels that is free up to a varying data limit per room per day, depending on which grade of hotel the guest is staying in.
In Tsogo Sunâ€™s Deluxe hotels, 750MB is free per room per day to in-house guests; in Southern Sun hotels, the cap is 500MB per room per day; in Garden Court hotels, the cap is 350MB per room per day; and in StayEasy hotels, the cap is 250MB per room per day. In all the hotels, these data limits are limited to a maximum of three devices per room. The free high speed, quality connectivity Wi-Fi service was launched in Tsogo Sun hotels at the start of June 2013, setting a new Wi-Fi standard in the hospitality industry in South Africa.
I think itâ€™s a great move by Tsogo and while it might initially be painful itâ€™s a step in the right direction. Tweeting about this led to an interesting debate: surely WiFi in a hotel is akin to having towels? Well the counter argument has two points:
- WiFi has always been a profit line item for a hotel. Suddenly youâ€™re looking at tens of thousands of rands lost per month. Thatâ€™s not insignificant in this economy.
- Not everyone uses the WiFi so surely itâ€™s being subsidised for those that use it by those that donâ€™t? Why should there be a small charge on my room for something Iâ€™m not using?
In the US WiFi is fairly common in hotels yet in Europe this isnâ€™t always the case. After spending six months selling a hotel product related to marketing I can say that hotels only care about two things: Can you make more money or lower costs. WiFi doesnâ€™t really fit either of those short term but itâ€™s definitely a longer term goal that all hotels should aim towards. People will pick a hotel with free WiFi over another if the price or location isnâ€™t that different.
Itâ€™s about time hotels and malls realise that WiFi is a people puller rather than an expense.