Mark Bridge writes:
I like hotels. Free biscuits in your room and all the portions of UHT milk you can drink. But the phone calls... that's a different story.
Dearie me, you're paying for that hospitality tray when you pick up the phone.
I've recently spent a few days in a UK city centre hotel and was shocked at the cost of making telephone calls from my room. I was equally shocked at the cost of using the hotel's broadband connection.
Phone calls were 30p a minute for local calls. Local calls! What's local? Who uses a map when they make calls these days? National UK calls were 55p a minute and mobile calls were £1 a minute.
Now, I've got a mobile tariff that includes an allowance of calls and internet use, so I wasn't going to pay that. But even if I'd left my phone at home, arrived from abroad or materialised from another planet, there'd still have been affordable alternatives.
Just over the road you could find a shopping centre containing The Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U, ASDA and Tesco. At CPW, £12.95 would buy me an Alcatel OT 209 including a £10 Orange top-up offering 300 texts, free internet access and calls at 20p a minute. Stick that in your trouser press!
And the hotel's daily £15 broadband charge doesn't look so good when compared with MiFiClub's £29.99 for three days of mobile WiFi or picking up a USB dongle for around £20.
I know that convenience is something that's often worth paying for. But - even given the criticism that mobile operators often face about their charges – this hotel pricing really doesn't feel like a sustainable model. How long before hotels stop bothering with offering telecoms services... or start giving them away free?