Hotel bills go down due to cell phones

I can still remember the days when you had to use the phone in your hotel room to make calls, at outrageous prices. All the toll free numbers were locked so you couldn’t get around it.

This has of course become next to useless now that every hotel guest will be carrying a mobile phone (I would like to know the percentage of guests who don’t – my guess would be that it’s less than 2 percent). now has data to support this observation:

“The revenue that hotels derive from guest room telephones fell last year to an average of $2 a day per occupied room, compared with $4.10 in 2000, according to the Hospitality Research Group of PKF Consulting, which is based in San Francisco, reports Inside Bay Area.

“The reasons are fairly obvious, said Robert Mandelbaum, the director of research information services: increased use of cell phones and calling cards, as well as a reaction against surcharges on telephone calls.” “

That is a development that had to be expected by the hotels – they were ripping off people without alternatives, which is an income stream that ends once there are alternatives.

That still leaves the hotels with the next leap in technology – internet access. While lots of companies can use toll free numbers (like we do), others depend on dial-up. The hotel I’m staying in also offers 30 minutes of wireless access for 10 swiss francs. I wonder how long it will take for them to come up with a pricing scheme that is attractive enough to actually use it. I mean, the infrastructure costs are there, anyway, and the traffic will be cheap for the operator (swisscom in my case), so clearly there’s a break even point between cost and usage. A pity nobody seems to give this a second thought.

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