Should hotels charge guests in-room Internet fees based on how much bandwidth they consume? That question was on Marriott International president and chief operating officer Arne Sorenson's mind this week. [more]
Pointing to the evolving needs of broadband users, Sorenson noted that "data required when you're streaming videos is dramatically higher than what you would do in the document and e-mail space, so that's causing cell carriers and the other folks that are not in the hotel space, but are in the communications space, to be looking at tiered pricing or people paying more for more access and the like.
"We'll have to see how that impacts the hotel space," Sorenson continued. "Clearly, we are having to increase the bandwidth that's coming in to our hotels to handle the increased demands. It's not an inexpensive bit of improvement for most hotels. I think we'll have to keep watching this space to see how pricing is impacted. Will there be tiered pricing? How much will the baseline be that's included or not include and the like?"
So far, Sorenson didn't have answers to those questions, and he stressed Marriott doesn't have any "real announcements in that space." Still, it's an interesting thought--especially since so many business travelers bemoan that high-speed Internet access is an add-on expense at most upscale hotels but a free perk at midscale brands.