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Wireless Hotel Models

I end up using the wireless links in hotels a lot. Sometimes, rarely, it will work from your room. Usually it is free in the lobby, bar and coffee shop. Maybe the profit on the coffee you purchase is higher than the hotel’s share of the wireless link.
I tend to agree with this rant here about the hotel Internet access nightmare. I can add another. Hotels usually travel in packs, I’ve often left the hotel I am staying at to take advantage of the free lobby access next door. Tellingly, I’ll frequent that other hotel the next time I visit. (I also find that when you phone to book your room that the staff have little idea of what kind of access they have.)
Despite these nightmares, I think there’s much to learn for libraries from the hotel model. For example, when I use the hotel wireless they somehow highjack my preferred homepage settings and display local news, weather, and ads for other hotels in their chain. Hmmmm. How many libraries do this? Can we force a library homepage as recompense for providing wireless access in our spaces? Can we promote our services, localize information like weather and sports? Can we be so bold as to promote events in oter branches? Can we be so in their face as to blog library marketing?
Also at hotels there is an access policy that you need to click through to use the free (or fee) wireless. I suspect more of us do this – always with the rules.
Last week I heard a great story from a librarian who had to deal with reduced hours in her branches due to budget shortfalls. As she drove by a closed branch early one evening she saw folks sitting on the front steps of the closed branch. Upon closer examination she saw they were all working on their laptops. Weird – until she realized that the library’s wireless access was on all the time and people were using the library from the stoop. Out came the digital camera for the photo op of a lifetime for her politicians and budgeteers! Libraries – filling local needs and delivering value. Maybe they need picnic tables out front under a wireless symbol. Cleveland Public Library told me that the access in their sculpture garden was excellent which seems like a cool place to surf, research and study.
Stephen

Posted on: September 20, 2005, 1:50 pm Category: Uncategorized

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