Many hotels these days advertise themselves as offering internet access for its residents. This is increasingly a popular facility, particularly with business travelers who may need to work away from the office. If you do intend on using the internet service whilst you are away, there are a few points to bear in mind as there is no set standard way of providing such access.
For example, if a hotel advertises itself as providing internet access for all residents, does this in fact mean that all residents have the facility for internet access in their own room, or is there a communal room which provides this facility? If you are taking your own laptop or computer equipment with you, you may find that you prefer to work in your own room than in a public area. This is, therefore, worth checking.
Another point to find out about is whether the internet access is only available at certain times. For example, during the day, or for set hours during the evening. Again, although these hours may suit you, it might not be the case, and finding out too late that you will not be able to do the planned research you intended, because you will only be there during the hours that no service is available will provide you with great inconvenience.
A hotel which states that internet access is available to all residents is also not declaring whether this means that it is free, or whether it is chargeable, and also whether residents can use their own equipment, or whether there is an internet cafe style facility available which requires residents to use the hotels’ computers rather than their own.
In the case of chargeable internet access, it is important to know well in advance what these fees are, and whether it is per minute or per megabyte rate, or simply a standard fee that covers you for the whole time you are staying there.
If the access is only available through the computers provided by the hotel, whilst this might suit your needs, this is unlikely, and you may find yourself unable to transfer your research information to your own computer, and of course it may be that you prefer your work to be private and confidential, and therefore using a shared computer is of concern.
It might also be wise to find out in advance about any security arrangements the hotel may have for your equipment, such as a secure safe or other means of locking your laptop away whilst you are not in your room.
When you are reserving your hotel, it is important not to purely rely upon the word of the person at the reception as far as the provision of IT facilities are concerned, since it is not always the case that they are as clued up as you about such technology. Therefore, either calling on two separate occasions and speaking to two separate persons to establish the situation, or preferably having the hotel email, fax or mail you with the facility descriptions, will help to ensure that you stand a greater chance of having access to facilities that suit your requirements.
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