BetterWayToStay.com | The more you pay for a hotel the less you get
I was amazed to read recently in an article on
CNN.com entitled Internet Fee Irritates Hotel Guests, that three quarters of the
“luxury” or upper scale hotel chains charge for Internet access, a fee that rubs
travelers the wrong way. “It’s something that drives me and a lot of my clients
relatively insane,” said Janice Hough, a travel agent who writes for the blog Consumer Traveler. According to the CNN story, Janice says “They feel nickled
and dimed. They feel frustrated. If you’re paying $500 for a hotel room, you can
probably afford $15 or $20 a day for the Internet. But it leaves a bad taste in
people’s mouth.” Studies by BedandBreakfast.com and Professional Association
of Innkeepers International have shown that more than 92% of inns and B&Bs
in the United States offer free wi-fi access to guests. In fact, when coupled with
complimentary breakfasts (often gourmet), free afternoon or evening refreshments,
beverages, and parking, the amenities add up to as much as $150 per day savings
at properties equivalent to the luxury hotels.
The CNN.com article goes on to explain that most travelers — business or otherwise
— view Internet access in their room as essential to their stay as a comfortable bed
to sleep in and a hot shower in the morning. In fact wireless Internet access is one
of the top five “must-have” amenities for hotel guests, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study,
also outlined on CNN.com.
Ironically, breakfast is in the same category as free wi-fi. The more you pay for the
hotel room, the less likely you are to find breakfast included in your room rate.
According to a second CNN.com story entitled Appetite Grows for Free Hotel Breakfast,
only 4 percent of the properties in the higher end hotel category offer a complimentary
breakfast. “They have a restaurant, and they want you to pay for your breakfast,” said
Daniel Mount, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University’s School of
Hospitality Management to CNN. “And at places like that, I don’t think free breakfast
is necessarily important.” Yet travelers who’ve heard from their Mom that breakfast is
the most important meal of the day want that free breakfast and are willing to choose
a lodging property that’ll offer it. When asked what they like most about inns and
B&Bs in BedandBreakfast.com surveys, inngoers have consistently answered that the
complimentary breakfast is among the top reasons they choose to stay at a B&B.
Recently, when staying in a boutique hotel (which will go unnamed) which did not
offer a complimentary breakfast, the waitress asked if we’d prefer REAL maple syrup
to imitation. Of course we answered we’d like the real maple syrup, only to find an
additional $2 charge on the breakfast bill. This inngoer, accustomed to enjoying
real maple syrup on my complimentary breakfast at every inn and B&B she travels to
felt particularly nickeled and dimed there.
Yet it’s these added fees that have travelers rubbed the wrong way, and which have the
same travelers looking to discover a better way to stay. According to arecent study by Peter Yesawich of the Y-Partnership, 79 percent of travelers are interested in visiting
an inn or B&B in the upcoming year. They are looking for a better way to stay and
they’re finding it when they visit inns or B&Bs.
We know we’re preaching the B&B advantages to the choir here. Help us to spread
the word. Pass this on to your hotel-going friends and family who are looking for
distinctive hospitality, delicious breakfasts and complimentary wi-fi, snacks and
beverages when they travel. Show them the better way to stay is also the value way
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