When will hotels get the free WiFi argument? ... Ireland price drop/Blue Jays!
No surprise to me here, but a recent hotels.com survey found that hotel guests would much rather have free WiFi than a fancy espresso coffee machine or an iPod dock or video game systems or, duh, workout equipment.
Maybe it's because us North Americans work too much, but it's no surprise that the free WiFi argument has so many converts. I don't mind paying a little extra for a hotel, but I HATE being forced to pony up some OUTRAGEOUS amount of money to get hooked up to the Internet, which increasingly is something we absolutely have to have. I've said it before, but if you're going to charge for the Internet why not have a towel surcharge or a hot water fee for the shower? They're all an essential part of the hotel experience.
Taylor L. Cole, director of public relations and social media for Hotels.com, put it nicely. "Given the explosion of mobile use in the past few years," he told USA Today, "it's no surprise that travelers are requiring free and fast WiFi. Many guests never travel without their tablets, smartphones and laptops. It's as intuitive as packing a toothbrush."
Shortly after posting my blog this morning, I got an email from Delta Hotels.
There were a couple interesting items in the hotels.com survey that went beyond the WiFi issue. For example, 45 per cent of folks said their favourite new amenities are happy hours, wine tastings or other activities involving free food and drinks. Of course we want a free drink - we want to forget about having to pay $15 for the Internet.
Thirty four per cent of women said they liked complimentary bottled water in the room, but only 24 per cent of male travelers thought it was important. Yeah, we'd rather have the free Scotch.
GET THEE TO IRELAND, BUT MAYBE NOT SPAIN
Interesting Wall Street Journal story today talks about how menu prices have dropped as much as 20 per cent across Ireland in the last three years as the country struggles with an economic crisis and with being tied to the Euro.
This apparently is true more outside Dublin than in Dublin itself. Still, it could be a deal for travelers.
At the same time, the story says some places have cut back. The fabulous Kings Head pub in Galway, for example, now less less-expensive fish on the menu and have gone from having five-piece bands playing to just two-piece groups. Which is a shame.
Bad news in Spain for travel types, as Iberia airline pilots staged a one-day strike on monday. They grounded 150 flights in what Reuters said is the first of 30 one-day strikes to protest the startup of low-cost carrier Iberia Express.
Hmm. That sounds awfully familiar to anyone who flies Air Canada. Not the one-day strikes (not yet, anyway), but the anger/concern over the startup of a cheap alternative to the main Iberia line.
Pilots say the new Iberia Express is a threat to jobs and working conditions. Management, oddly enough, disagrees, saying the project is vital to increasing their profitability.
I don't think this argument ends well...
NEW YORK HOTEL OPTION
Conrad New York has opened its new hotel in the fresh and "vibrant" Battery Park City neighbourhood. Rising 16 stories along the Hudson River waterfront, the 463 all-suite luxury hotel is the first New York address from Conrad Hotels & Resorts, the global luxury brand of Hilton Worldwide, officials said.
Lower Manhattan has been an area on the upswing for several years, and it's an area we profiled last summer in Star Travel. There are some lovely parks and great bars and food places, including Stone Street, where you can take your beer or wine and food out in a pedestrian-only street and have some al fresco fun.
BLUE JAYS OPENER
Apropo of nothing in regard to travel, I gotta say I'm rather skeptical about the Blue Jays. I mean, a great season in Florida means squat, folks. The Jays didn't do well in the spring in the years they won the World Series, as I recall.
Spring is only meant as a tune-up for the real season, and with Sergio Santos out there doing a great imitation of Nuke Laloosh (from Bull Durham) it's gotta be making Paul Beeston stop and think a little bit about his closer options. I mean, how many actual balls did Santos throw that hit the strike zone in the ninth inning on Monday night? Four?
I'm not suggesting it's already time for the Jays to take out an ad in the paper to apologize to fans, but Santos had better come around fairly quickly if this club is going to make any kind of a playoff run. That or it's back to bullpen by committee or, maybe Beeston gives Susan Sarandon a call....