Hotels and Price Gouging

We're working on a project with some folks at the CHR, and they are travelling to a conference to present their courses and talk about the process. Part of that presentation will be a live demo of the Moodle-powered site and some of the cool Breeze content we put together for them.

The hotel (which shall remain unnamed for now) sent them a sheet, asking what technical services they would like for their 1 hour presentation. Included in that sheet was this portion, listing the costs per service:

starwood price gouging

I had to resize it to fit here, so it's a bit hard to read, but the basics are:

  • Internet connection (wired): $350
  • Internet connection (wireless): $350
  • Telephone: $175

If that's not the definition of price gouging, I don't know what is. That's insane. Their internet charges, according to these rates, would be over $10,500 per month. And that's in Canadian money, not that whimpy US stuff!

I could almost see how they could justify these rates if the conference was some hodey-dodey high flying billionaire's club meeting, or maybe a Web 2.0 pre-bubble-bursting lovefest. But this is a medical education conference.

If I had to pay $350 to have an internet connection during a presentation, I just plain and simple wouldn't do it. But these folks have committed to giving a live demo, and the only way to do that is to grab some ankle and ask for more.


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