Since opening in August of last year, many of our guests have praised us for providing Free Wi-Fi. I have heard time and time again how they are fed up with being charged extra fees so they may access their wireless Internet (sometimes as much as $14.00 a day!!). In fact, we are hearing more and more that Free Wi-Fi is one of the services our guests value the most.
The costs of providing wireless Internet have come down- it simply does not make sense to nickel and dime our guests….or make them join some Loyalty program or jump through hoops. From the beginning, our hotel has been committed to providing our guests with the most luxurious and comfortable accommodations in the area- and this means Free Wi-Fi .
The article Business travelers winning battle for free hotel Internet access in USA Today by Barbara DeLollis posted last month addresses this issue:
More business travelers are getting what they say they want most from hotels: free Internet access in their rooms……Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Forrester Research, says that it’s time for hotels to drop Internet charges. ”Hotels realize that companies and individuals are fed up with paying extra for Wi-Fi,” he says. “Consumers are smart enough to know the cost of providing it has come down.”
Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard that the airline security scare from last month has caused even more safety restrictions to air travel and is testing the patience of business travelers throughout the world. On one hand, of course we want to do everything we can to support new ways to prevent violent and hostile acts to air travel- but the downside is these new measures will likely burden an already stressed travel industry.
Most airline passengers are frustrated by the new measures- but are willing to tolerate new restrictions if officials think they will keep them safer. Here are some of examples of what we may see for a while:
Airport police operating checkpoints for vehicles entering International Airports; Extra screening and new limits on carry-on luggage from Aviation security officials; Extra long security lines; Increased police patrols at checkpoints and screening stations at the airport; and less freedom to move around the airplane during flight.
It is unknown how long the measures would be in effect and the limits could vary from airport to airport. Here are some of our suggestions to prevent additional headaches:
Be Prepared!! Review and/or familiarize yourself with the most recent TSA Guidelines before entering the airport by going to their site and following their Travel Assistant tips. This section does a great job addressing many air travel questions including:
* The Screening Experience
* Dress the Part
* What You Need
* Do I Have to Remove My Shoes?
* Keep Your Experience Simple
* Travel Tips to Make Your Screening Experience Hassle-Free
* Know What to Expect
PACK LIGHTLY & BE PREPARED TO BE SEARCHED: After reviewing these guidelines- pack as lightly as possible and be prepared for your items to be searched- and possibly searched again. The closer you can stay within the TSA guidelines- the easier it will be for you to get through airport security and on your way. If you are delayed due to increased screening procedures- remember that it is nothing personal, it is their job to do this and keep all passengers safe. Most travelers I talk to pack for their journey a day ahead of time so they are not rushed or frantic while packing (making it lightly they will forget some of the travel guidelines).
Check Your Flight Status Before You Leave for The Airport! Go to your airline’s Website or contact their customer service prior to
ARRIVE REALLY EARLY- I know this sounds like common sense, but you would not believe how many passengers find themselves in a pinch or experience unnecessary stress because they have failed to arrive with enough time to check in and move through security. You must plan to arrive early to make your flying experience more enjoyable. At this time- the TSA recommends passengers arrive 3 hours prior to their flight for all domestic flights. If you find that you have allowed too much time- enjoy a book or a favorite magazine and be grateful you are not in jeopardy of missing your flight.
Be Patient! Be Polite! Please do not make things worse for other passengers by expressing your frustration at the new security measures. If nothing else, think of the excellent service and luxurious accommodations you will be receiving once you arrive in our hotel- visualize yourself relaxing in our Grand Lobby…In all seriousness- as I stated before- do not take it personally if you are subject to increased searches or delays due to heightened security. It is a small price to pay for safety.
Here are some additional statements from the TSA:
Q: What additional security measures is TSA taking domestically?
A: TSA has a layered approach to security that allows us to surge resources as needed on a daily basis. We have the ability to quickly implement additional screening measures including explosive detection canine teams, law enforcement officers, gate screening, behavior detection and other measures both seen and unseen. Passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport.
Q: What additional security measures are being taken for international flights to U.S. destinations?
A: TSA issued a directive for additional security measures to be implemented for last point of departure international flights to the United States. Passengers flying into the United States from abroad can expect to see additional security measures at international airports such as increased gate screening including pat-downs and bag searches. During flight, passengers will be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.
Q: Do passengers need to do anything differently to prepare for checkpoint security procedures? Has anything changed in terms of what passengers can bring in their carry-on or checked bags?
A: At this time, security checkpoint requirements for passengers departing U.S. airports remain the same. Passengers do not need to do anything differently, but they may notice additional security measures at the airport.
Q: Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?
A: Passengers traveling within the United States should give themselves extra time to check in and proceed through the security checkpoint before their flight, especially during the busy holiday travel season. TSA advises that passengers traveling on international flights to U.S. destinations allow extra time for security and arrive an additional hour earlier.
Q. How long will these measures remain in place?
A: TSA will continuously review these measures to ensure the highest levels of security.
I recognize and appreciate that many of our guests at The Grand Hotel Bridgeport are staying here for business reasons. After all- we are located just outside of Portland, Oregon and are minutes away from the business centers in Tulatin and Tigard. Here are some tips I found from the article, 30 tips for better business travel that you might appreciate! Leave a comment if you have more handy tips to share.
Business Travel Tips
- Never put your laptop in your hold luggage, even if you’re not using it during your flight. The tender ministrations of the baggage handlers have dispatched more than one of my laptops to the great repair shop in the sky. — Jo Best, senior reporter, silicon.com
- Pack paper and pen – they have a longer battery life than your laptop and are more multi-functional. – Rob Bamforth, analyst, Quocirca
Buy a light travel bag that holds a change of clothes, laptop, charger, phone, pen, paper and has a handle, shoulder and backpack straps. – Rob Bamforth, analyst, Quocirca
Take your own bottle of water on the plane. Even in business class they never come round with the drinks enough and it’s too easy to get dehydrated. – Steve Ranger, business editor, silicon.com
Try to avoid working when you are travelling – the whole experience is bad enough without adding to the stress by having to complete your presentation before you land. Use the time to catch up on leisure reading and movies. – Elaine Axby, analyst, Quocirca
Two consecutive nights in the same hotel is a chance to get some laundry done – so less clothes you need to pack in the first place. – Bob Tarzey, analyst, Quocirca
If you aren’t yet a Skype subscriber then think about becoming one. In some countries, using VoIP in the hotel lobby or a wi-fi zone can save you a small fortune in mobile phone roaming charges. Don’t forget to pack your headset. – Simon Moores, columnist, silicon.com
In strange cities, if you can find out how best to get from the airport to your destination before you leave and the rough cost and time, everything will run a lot more smoothly. – Simon Briskman, lawyer, Field Fisher Waterhouse
Photo Credit: www.businesstravel.us/