Tag: las vegas

Posh hotels gouge guests for Wi-Fi

hotel-roomIt is no secret that free Wi-Fi is good for business, so it is available practically everywhere, from pubs and service stations, to public institutions.

However, it is still not available in most hotels and according to a survey carried out by travel site Gogobot, posh hotels are still charging an arm and a leg for a bit of Wi-Fi.

On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with charging a few pounds for unlimited Wi-Fi, but the survey also confirms another angle – the pricier the hotel, the pricier the Wi-Fi. It is cheeky, to say the least.

Gogobot’s survey of UK hotels revealed that some establishments, such as the Hilton, charge as much as £15 per day. Smaller boutique or independent hotels are cheaper and some offer free Wi-Fi, while others charge up to £5 and £8 per day. It doesn’t sound like too much, but the cost can quickly add up in a matter of days and it is obvious that frequent travellers (or their employers) could end up wasting hundreds of pounds on overpriced Wi-Fi over the course of a single year.

What’s more, the survey found that Wi-Fi access was at times spotty and unreliable, reports Mashable. Quality remains a problem, no matter how much you pay.

“There is no correlation between the amount you pay and the quality you get,” Kelly Lees, general manager in Europe said. She argued that tetherless travel is here to stay and the days of connecting to the internet using Ethernet in hotels are “long gone”.

However, things could be about to change. Lees says Wi-Fi prices are starting to affect hotel ratings. Travellers who believe they were ripped off on Wi-Fi will not give hotels a five-star rating. In addition, the availability of low cost 3G/4G services could make hotel Wi-Fi as obsolete as Ethernet, unless hotels finally realize that they stand to gain more by offering free Wi-Fi rather than making their guests pay through the nose for every byte consumed on business trips.

ChannelEye reviews the Venetian, Vegas

The Venetian, Las VegasI’ve never been to Venice, but I’ve been to the Venetian, Las Vegas before, although only visiting it rather than living in it.  In it?  And despite the tacky first impression of  gondolas, an artificially lit St Mark’s Square and accordian playing maidens in the lobby, there is more to this hotel than meets the eye.

I was staying at the Venetian because I was covering the Hewlett Packard Global Partner Conference and even though I was only there for two nights, I have decided that I like it. I like it a lot.  And it’s the people who work at the Venetian that make the place.  The check in lady was friendly, welcoming and efficient – the room was pleasant and bigger than the first flat I lived in – the staff were uniformly helpful, even when they weren’t wearing uniforms and went that extra mile.

Venetian, Las VegasAnd when I say that extra mile, I can tell you that if you are not fit, you will be fit even if you’re only staying for two nights. You will walk for miles and miles and miles, oh yeah. I was staying at room 9-525 and to get to the lift, sorry elevator, you are talking more than just a leisurely saunter. And when you get to the ground floor, it’s another trek to get, through the casino, to the Sands conference centre where the HP gig was on-going, or going on, as we’d prefer to say. The old Sands convention centre was awful – the new one ain’t too bad at al.

On the way to the casino, you will be entertained by nice lasses playing accordions and if you look up there’s a heap of paintings on the ceiling while your little legs attempt to make the grade.

Once in the casino, it’s another hike to get to the Sands conference centre and once you’re there there are floors and floors and floors and floors. But when it looked like I was getting lost, I just had to ask the staff and they sent me the right way on my safari.

Venetian: bar in the casinoOn the last day, I was due to be picked up at 5:45PM to make my way back to Blighty.  On the way back from the conference centre, I stopped by the bar in the casino.  I have got to tell you the barman working there (pictured) was one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I can tell you I have met a lot of bar staff in my incredibly long life. I was fiddling around with Facebook on my StupidPhone and the barman said: “Talk to me! Stop playing with Facebook and talk to me!”  I talked to him. What a friendly and professional guy.

And so to the denoument of my stay at the Venetian hotel.  I had ambiguous instructions for where my pick up was supposed to, er, pick me up. I asked the bell hop, Luke from Kansas, to give me a hand to the pick up point.  We got to first one pick up point that didn’t work. Then we had to hike across the hotel to another which didn’t work either. Luke stuck by me.  In the end, one of the guys fired up his bus just to take me, on my own, to McArran airport, at no charge. So thank you driver Michael, and your fiancé, Linda, looks beautiful.

I would say what makes this hotel are the people that work in it. I have spent many hours in hotels and, also assessing corporations. The Venetian is a happy ship, that much is clear. I couldn’t fault the place, largely because of the pleasant people – in good moods – that work there.

PS I haven’t been paid for this review.

What HP really told its dear partners

HP Global Partner ConferenceLet’s face it, us journalists are like a dangerous bacillus for vendors. Although the press are important to HP, we must be kept in isolation, and any HP execs that come anywhere near us must be inoculated beforehand and go through extensive health checks afterwards to ensure they haven’t been contaminated.

So in the ICU unit at this week’s Global Partner Conference, we were kept carefully away from the 2,000 partners invited to the glittering jamboree at the very glittering Venetian hotel in swinging Las Vegas.

We attempted to visit a server briefing but we were ejected by an HP bouncer because he noticed that we were wearing a red badge – red standing for warning, of course.

It was hard to prevent us chatting to sources close to Avnet, Ingram Micro and Tech Data, however, and to sundry HP employees who hadn’t been inoculated. Because these chaps and chapesses haven’t been press trained, we will have to not name them and describe them as “sources close” to the companies. And we can relay the undoubted fact that although folk from the big distributors welcomed Meg Whitman’s pledge to be nicer to the channel, they will believe it when they see it, if you get my meaning.

We hacks didn’t get invited to the Gen8 Petting Zoo, which is a shame. We would have loved to see HP petting the channel. Nor did we learn about the new compact servers (need three pedestals), the future HP Smart Update Manager (SUM), the future HP BladeSystem interconnect and we weren’t briefed on HP’s Smart Storage Futures (power, monitor, internet).

We do know that Synnex is HP’s largest North American distributor, delivering over $3 billion sales every year. It’s HP’s number one distie and has over 45 percent channel share. A Mr Eric Doyle, from the Intel Corporation, delivered the message that Intel, HP and resellers are “better together”.  This Eric Doyle is different from UK hack Eric Doyle, who had a package waiting for him in reception. Confusion arose. The UK’s Eric Doyle was being asked to pay $7 to collect the Intel package. We didn’t see Intel’s Mike Magee there, either.

Dan Forlenza from HP and Aaron Arvizu from Intel impressed on delegates the importance of the enterprise tablet revolution. Those would be HP tablets with Intel chips inside, then. Scott Wiest, from HP, invited the resellers to “ignite new opportunities” with X86 servers and how to migrate IBM and Oracle Sun servers to HP ones, instead.

Ray Carlin from HP told partners that while there have been many predictions of the demise of bricks-and-mortar shops, lots of people still want to go into real shops. As ChannelEye knows only too well, people like to go into shops to eye up the goodies but fewer and fewer are buying there and after they’ve taken a dekko, go online to buy the kit instead.

All in all, the event was a very revealing snapshot of how HP treats its partners.  We were successfully confined to sealed test tubes and shipped out of Vegas with due despatch and without the plague breaking out in a widespread kind of a way.

HP’s Whitman brings cheers to its channel

Meg Whitman, photo by Mike MageeMeg Whitman, president and CEO of HP opened up her keynoting at the global partner event here in Las Vegas by stressing the importance of the channel. “I love the channel,” she said. “You are a huge part of our success and a huge part of our future.  “I want to provide an update to HP’s strategy and growth, demonstrate our commitment to the channel and to make it more profitable for the channel to do business with Hewlett Packard.”

“The last couple of years at Hewlett Packard haven’t been easy,” she said. But HP is turning itself round. “We know what needs to get done and we’re doing it.”  Last year she laid out a four year plan for Hewlett Packard. “My management team needed to come together with a realistic view of what we needed to do and what we needed to change.”

2014 will mean a recovery and the basis for future expansion, she said. “You won’t have to wait until 2015 to see progress. You will see the results this year. In 2013 we are on a very strong financial footing. Last year HP generated $10.6 billion of cash flow from operations. That’s more operating cash flow than Coca Cola, Disney and Fedex. A company with $10.6 billion in cash flow is a force to be reckoned wth.”

One of the biggest problems HP has had in the last few years has been churn in top management, she admitted.  HP has taken some of its old HR systems and revised them. Last year HP invested more in R&D, it launched a new advertising campain, and revised its entire communications and PR strategy.  HP has put an increased focus on the channel, she said.  HP created a party advisory board and surveyed 6,000 channel partners.

That showed HP was too complex to do business with, there are too mny complicated programmes and HP’s tools and processes were hard to navigate, Whitman said. It has implemented a single channel programme.  HP now has a very clear policy about taking business away from the channel and going direct. “This will simply not be tolerated,” she said, raising heavy applause from the channel audience.

“Partners are part of the DNA of Hewlett Packard and are an essential part of our future,” she said.  HP will make it simpler and more consistent to do business with its partners and strengthen trust and loyalty. HP has simplified the management of the channel and will work hand in hand in business growth.  “A fast no is far better than a slow no. A long yes isn’t satisfying either,” she said.

HP will rationalise sales and technical specifications and will simplify the support profile. There will be one partner programme across the whole of HP, she reiterated. HP will implement a simple compensation model generating rebates from the first sale. It will also remove caps and allow an unlimited pay out.  It will put more focus on making its compensation structure clear. There will be a new HP tool to simplify channel business. HP Financial Services will also chip in on the channel front.

She said that HP has a number of products so popular that there is a shortage, such as its storage portfolio and its Elite tablet, aimed at the enterprise market. She said that the leadership across the channel business had the power to do their best now. HP has kept its best and brightest executives but has brought in some new members of the management team.