We've written about how excessive in-room phone charges are a scam that many hotels run, which was increasingly being undercut by folks using their mobile phones instead. Many hotels responded by increasing the fees they charged to the few guests who had no mobile phones to use (yes, this is a backwards move). Now, some are resorting to even shadier solutions. Found over at textually.org comes the news that (at least in Scotland) hotels are buying up illegal mobile phone jammers which make mobile phone users believe they have no service in their rooms - forcing them to use the hotel phones. First off, I wonder how prevalent it really is. The "source" for the story is the guy selling the devices, who has every incentive in the world to hype up how well he's doing. More importantly, businesses that go ahead and install such devices are coming up with a short-term solution that's going to hurt in the long term. As so many travelers rely so heavily on their mobile phones, finding a hotel that seems to not have mobile phone service at all will only make a large percentage of business travelers cross that hotel off the list of hotels they'll stay at in the future. There's no shortage of competition, and offering customers what they want might go a bit further than making a few extra bucks on long distance phone calls.
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