Are Your Guests Managing Your Internet Usage For You?

AN36-1-tech-internet"I didn't know guests could watch TV on YouTube."

"Room 23 watched 26 episodes of Fear Factor UK and used all our Internet for the month. We can't even access our resort webpage until next month and our Internet service provider wants to charge us a fortune to get more Internet for the rest of the month. It's a disaster!"

How quickly this can happen and it does! The Internet is making it easier and quicker for guests to watch videos, movies and now television. Google, the owners of YouTube, released YouTube TV in November 2011. YouTube TV has plans to launch as many as 96 channels with many new and original shows planned that cover film, music, news, gaming, comedy, drama and sports. The channels claim involvement from people like Jay Z (Life + Times), Stan Lee (Stan Lee's World of Heroes), Deepak Chopra (The Chopra Well), Ashton Kutcher (The Thrash Lab) just to name a few. There are big names getting behind it, so it's not going anywhere.

Google said the goal of YouTube TV was to "bring an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more reasons for viewers to keep coming back again and again". And they will keep coming back over and over again if you let them.

Channels are available on any Internet-connected device, anywhere in the world, with the interactivity and social features of YouTube built in. Accessible anytime and anywhere there is an Internet connection available.

Perusing the YouTube TV web site, for example, I noticed there are 1497 episodes of UK's longest running soap Take the High Road. At 26 minutes an episode, that is a massive chunk of Internet usage. There are 30 episodes of America's Got Talent at 24 minutes an episode. And the list goes on. If you subscribe, you can get the full TV episodes of some shows sent to your computer! All you need is for a guest or their child to be sick or for rain to set in for a few days and YouTube TV will be running hot and so will your business's Internet usage.

How long can your business run without Internet access if it has all used up? How much are you prepared to pay to add extra Internet coverage for the rest of the month until your quota kicks in for the following month? Internet service providers are not commonly known for their "cheap" over usage fees. They tend to charge hefty amounts for the additional service.

While businesses need to offer Internet access to customers to remain competitive in their field, free Internet is starting to become an expectation or a must have for guests to choose your business. Giving a customer unlimited downloading access with no restrictions, can open up a Pandora's Box of problems not to mention the complaints from other guest if they cannot access your Internet as it has "all been used up" or it is so slow as a guest is streaming YouTube TV from their room not even allowing you to download an urgent email or access your resort website.

Managing your Internet usage and availability is an integral part of your business and as important as managing your bookings and budget. I suggest you offer customers a certain amount of free downloadable Internet per day, 200Mb for example, and if they need more, the guest can purchase more from you, hence giving you a return on your Internet investment. There are solutions in the market that offer these features and are cost effective and easy to setup, manage and administer.

YouTube TV is only just the beginning. It is free and it is legal. There are thousands of web sites offering the opportunity to watch TV online but they are mostly illegal and of poor quality but that won't stop your guests. All a guest has to do is turn up their settings to 1080p whilst watching a YouTube TV episode and the quality raises to high definition. If they were to watch a two-hour movie they could be using up to 6-7Gb of your Internet usage.

Start thinking about how you are going to manage your Internet usage and put a strategy in place. There are solutions available that are cheaper than your Internet over usage costs!

Judy Senn
Time Out Internet