Do you remember traveling before cell phones and laptops? You used to have to actually read and otherwise be bored while in airports and on airplanes. Also, the hotel phone was a lifeline – enabling you to make and receive calls while on the go.
Also, the phone and in-room movies used to be a huge revenue producer for hotels and motels. According to LA Times, this isn’t so true any more. With virtually everyone in the US (especially amongst those who can afford hotel rooms) carrying cell phones now, charging for phone calls while in a hotel room is a thing of the past.
Also, in-room movies are not being used as much as well. These add-on services are being neglected as more and more travelers carry laptops and watch movies on them.
Hacking Netflix thinks that Netflix streaming is to blame, at least where in-room movies are concerned. I think this is likely true to some degree. However, hotel Wi-Fi is almost always a terrible experience for me and I don’t think Netflix streaming is an enjoyable experience.
I think most folks are just getting tight with their travel budgets and pinching their pennies. Once you travel to and get to your hotel room, the idea of spending $5-7 on a movie does not sound appealing. Also, I bet the availability of Redbox and $1 rentals are luring many travelers. Redboxes are available at all McDonald’s and in many other hotel-friendly location.
In my opinion, hotels would be better served to set up a Redbox inside their locales. The commission off these kiosks would make up for lost revenue. It would likely never happen!
(Image credit: Flickr user Joi)