As I type this, I am using a hotel-based Internet connection. With so many of you preparing to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday- and because the readership is oriented toward technology enthusiasts- I am sure that some of you will be using the Internet from your hotel as well.
I mean, even to print out e-tickets, or MapQuest directions.
My mixed success using the Internet at this hotel encourages me to work up this post with seven reasons why using Internet at hotels can be a pain. I share this list with you now, and invite your responses.
1. Electrical connections in unreachable places. I prefer to work with a plugged-in notebook. And while it is true that more hotels are finally figuring out that the connection should be on the desk lamp or nearby wall, even some otherwise "business class" hotels bury the outlet under the desk, behind the tv console, etc.
2. Nonsensical electrical switches. I, like you, (that was a kind of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" moment, wasn't it) are often befuddled by on switches for lamp-based and wall-based outlets being located far, far away at the entrance to the hotel room. Please let me control my switches manually, at the exact place the outlet is located.
3. Front desk staff clueless about WiFi. The WiFI in my hotel seems to be suffering from performance issues. I know it is not device-based, but hardware-based. So when I call the front desk, I don't want to be routed to an external help desk service that: a) has little if any remote diagnostics capability, and b) primarily exists to walk newbies through the WiFi process.
4. Hotel "engineers" who are clueless about WiFi. My "issue," explained above, led to a room visit from a hotel "engineer." He journeyed to the sixth floor outside my room, disconnected the WiFi gear on the ceiling and re-booted. Nothing. I told him it looked like a bad card inside the router or maybe an Access Point issue. He gave me a "huh" stare. Lesson to hotels: train your maintenance people about WiFi.
5. Hotel WiFi should always be free. I find it interesting that the more discount-oriented hotels are the ones that give WiFi away, while the luxury properties milk ya for as much as $13.95 a day. In these times, WiFi should be free, and always.
6. Make your logins immediate and easy. I cannot count the times I plug in my laptop in my hotel room and I reach a dead web page. Then, maybe two minutes later-after I choose a wireless network- the hotel's WiFi login page appears. This process should be quicker, if not immediate.
Now for a pet peeve about too many of those lobby or business center-based Internet connections:
7. Don't give me a disabled browser. Right now, the jackleg browser I am using in this hotel lobby is seriously not enabled. I'd like a History folder, if only for my current session. And since I often compose blog entries in Notepad, having access to that would be nice. Only I don't know if that's enabled or not. Why? Because this flavor of Windows XP has a Start Menu with "Run" disabled.
Readers, do you have hotel Internet pet peeves?