I get approached quite a lot to cover technology stories or products that aren’t particularly relevant to me but WiFi on trains, hotels and restaurants is something that I feel quite strongly about. I just have to ask myself how many times have I been on the red eye 5am train flying into London trying to use a useless connection? The answer is a lot and it is very annoying when it doesn’t work.
I like many people look to use the free WiFi wherever I can as my mobile service can often be patchy when tethering to my laptop. So earlier this week I received a story about the Hotel Chain Glh which is to launch free unlimited BT WiFi for all its guests and visitors across the country. The bumf has told me that it’s a ‘one-click’ service which allows customers to log on to the Internet instantly, without the hassle of singing up and giving all of your usual details. Predictably demand for WiFi in hotels is rising, with this chain’s guests using more than one billion minutes of the stuff in 2013. As a social media strategist I have to use different platforms for all of my clients and so I need to have a connection just to do my job.
More interestingly though, a recent report by BDRC Continental found that guests consider free WiFi as important as a good night’s sleep. I think free WiFi is pretty important as a business tool but I am not so sure I see it as that critical as a former insomniac I can tell you that I love and need my sleep. But I am willing to find out just how good it is so I am going to test drive this service myself in Newcastle to see if it is as good as it claims to be. I will report back.
BT is actually one of my old clients from several years back and I remember when it became the first supplier of public WiFi more than 10 years ago to a huge fanfair. These days a good connection is what’s expected and I think it’s great we can work wherever we want to inside or out. I am currently sat next to a load of boxes as the Prohibition team are moving offices tomorrow and Wifi and lack thereof may be a problem over the next three days or so. You are going to have to wish me luck.