Friday, 30 March 2012

Not happy with Holiday Inn

See, we have culture in Swindon
Yesterday I had to hang around for about an hour on the outskirts of Swindon. I know you are thinking that sounds a bit like some sort of 'outer circle of hell' joke, but you are cruel, and indulging in a malicious stereotype. Swindon is really quite nice. There wasn't time to go anywhere with a nice little coffee shop or even Starbucks, so I popped into the nearby Holiday Inn for a quite acceptable if rather expensive cappuccino.

Out came the iPad (in fact I am writing this blog on it in the Holiday Inn coffee shop right now, yesterday, if you'll pardon the time mangling). When I know I'm going to have time to kill I always take my iPad with me and that does everything I need. In fact, thanks to the ubiquitousness of free Wi-fi I don't even bother to download anything as I know all my latest work will be there on Dropbox ready to access.

So I hit the Wi-fi button and up pops 'Holiday Inn Swindon Wi-fi' as you would expect. I click on 'Lounge Access'. (Does this make me a lounge lizard? Who remember the Larry game?) And I'm told it will cost me £5 for an hour. What? I can get free Wi-fi in Starbucks. I can get free Wi-fi in my local independent coffee shop. I get it free in pretty well every hotel I've stayed in for the last two years. But Holiday Inn want to charge me £5 for an hour. Giving free Wi-fi is a no-brainer.  It doesn't usually cost the business much on top of their Internet connection and it has become an expected essential. Charging for it is a bit like charging for a chair.

It's not even as if the coffee was particularly cheap. As I have said previously, I'm prepared to pay a premium for a nice place to sit. But I expect it to have the basic amenities. A chair, a table, access to a toilet, heating and light where necessary. And Wi-fi. I really don't think it's too much to ask.

(In case anyone is worried for my efficient use of time, I still had plenty to do offline, what with writing this post and reading an ebook I had already downloaded for research. But it's the principle of the thing.)

Image from Wikipedia


  1. "Giving free Wi-fi is a no-brainer."

    Tell that to Japan...

  2. Or indeed, tell it to that smirking profiteer Richard Branson, whose Virgin Trains charges at £4 an hr for Wi-Fi access in all but the first class section.