Kiosks Move Into Hotel Rooms

While kiosk-based Wi-Fi still has some legs, even a company like PayKiosks knows the real money is made selling wireless access in guest rooms.
Posted November 7, 2005

Adam Stone

In the hotly contested hotel space, Wi-Fi vendors are looking beyond the lobby, bar and meeting rooms.

Take, for instance, PayKiosks Internet Terminals. Founded in 2000, the company stayed true to its name for a long time, building up a base of some 300 installed Wi-Fi kiosks in 300 hotels and truckstops. Users pay the typical rates: $4.95 an hour, $8.95 a day and $29.95 a month.

More recently, though, the company has begun to roll out whole-property solutions. Earlier this year, for example, PayKiosks made wireless LAN available throughout all guest rooms in two downtown San Francisco Executive Inn hotels, as well as in the University Inn at Berkeley.

The company deploys its networks by linking hotspots to the Internet via existing cable TV wiring. "This way, we are not punching holes in walls, getting into their ceilings, ripping up carpets," says PayKiosks' president, Scott McInnes.

With this streamlined tactic, McInnes says he can deploy wireless throughout a hotel in just one to two days. That kind of minimally invasive approach has been welcomed by hoteliers, who dread both the expense and the disruption of a major networking installation.

PayKiosks deploys its networks for free on a revenue-sharing basis. McInnes says laptop use is so high these days that he can make the free installations pay even in smaller hotels. "Anything over 100 rooms is definitely a viable location for us," he says. "We have lots of smaller properties that generate several thousand dollars a month in wireless usage."

In cases where a hotel offers Wi-Fi as an amenity rather than as a revenue generator, McInnes will still deploy a system. Hotel managers in such instances will pay him a monthly fee to maintain and manage the Wi-Fi network, with the fee varying depending on the size of the property.

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