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Pillows & Ports

Hotel high-speed hookups are catching on-slowly.
June 1, 2000
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/28388

Just a few years ago, a hotel could call itself "wired" if it offered a dedicated phone line for an Internet or fax connection. Today, being wired means something entirely different.

The newest properties are opening with rooms featuring dedicated, high-speed Internet connections at T-1 speeds-that's about 100 times faster than the fastest phone modem-or higher. And existing hotels are retrofitting their rooms to accommodate a surging demand for fast Net access.

Fueling the need for fast connections is the increase in Internet usage by business travelers, as well as growth in the file sizes that need to be transmitted. In its most recent membership survey, conducted in 1998, 43 percent of the American Hotel & Motel Association's constituents said they offered their guests Internet access.

Many major-market hotels already offer the quicker connections, according to Bobby Bowers, a lodging expert at Smith Travel Research in Hendersonville, Tennessee. "In a few years, they'll be everywhere," he predicts.

Meantime, which are the most wired hotels?

But Mark Haley, director of customer relationship management for hsupply.com, a business-to-business hotel technology services company in Atlanta, says that while it may seem that every hotel is getting hooked up to a high-speed connection, there remains a lot of work to be done. "That's because the 'take' rates-or the rate at which guests use these services-is in the single digits," he says. "Usage only goes up when people don't pay for it."

In other words, don't expect to see a T-1 line in your hotel room any time soon-unless you're willing to pay a premium for it.



Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at www.elliott.org.


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