Good pricing is largely in the eye of the beholder - what seems like a great value to one person may seem terrible to someone else. But sometimes a pricing practice irritates so many people, costs so many sales and causes so much resentment it’s hard not to label it a fail.
I put the high prices ($11.95 to $17.95 per day) charged by hotels for in-room internet access in this category. Why?
The hotel is using a clever strategy to accommodate the values different guests put on the convenience of in-room internet access by offering free wifi in the lobby and upscale hotels are smart to try and profile their typical guest as not caring about the added charge. They are not making the mistake of being too simplistic in their pricing - they are taking a very sophisticated approach.
Maybe too sophisticated. Or too greedy. All I can say for sure is that several years I travelled with a special wifi pouch that included two hi-gain antennas and amplifier that greatly extended my range and would usually let me connect to a free signal (usually the lobby or adjoining conference center). More recently I have switched to a Verizon wireless HotSpot - something every one of my peers had already done. I don’t know how many people continue to pay the high prices for in-room internet but everyone I know has found workarounds.
What is the solution? Lower prices for in-room access might be tempting. They couldn’t be as low as the cost of a wireless HotSpot but they don’t have to be - I’d pay some premium to not have to worry about data usage, getting a signal or keeping charged.
Tiers might be another solution - lower speed in room access is free, higher speed comes at a premium.
My favorite approach (and one that is becoming more common) is the addition of rate categories that include internet access and sometimes free breakfast and/or parking. Seemingly designed to appeal to business travelers this approach invokes all the benefits of mixed bundling - I’m far more likely to pay an extra $15-$20 for breakfast and in-room internet access than I would for either individually. The hotel gets a happier guest (who is also more likely to return) and more revenue.
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