Starwood Execs Don't See A Return From WiFi

Damn those short-term narrow-minded strategists. Found over at WiFi Networking News is the story that Starwood, the large hotel chain can’t figure out an ROI for WiFi, and thus, don’t think there’s much there to offer. Of course, up until now they’ve only been looking at the most obvious benefits (to them!): getting travelers to pay for access. They don’t look at the broader issues, such as how WiFi helps internally in improving operations (though, at the end of the article they admit they’re starting to do so). In places like Starbucks and in the article we posted earlier about WiFi in malls, it appears that the operational benefits of WiFi alone pay for the installations. Furthermore, the folks at Starwood are missing the bigger pictures by only counting guests who will pay for WiFi. As more and more hotels offer WiFi, it’s going to become a standard service. Not offering it is going to considerable damage to your bottom line. For the past year and a half any travel I’ve done has always involved me calling up hotels to find out if they have WiFi access. It’s a stay/no-stay feature for me – and it appears to be the same for many other business travelers. The cost of not offering services travelers expect goes well beyond the costs of installing a couple of access points.

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