Open Source Hotel Rooms

I’ve just checked out of my hotel at SAPPHIRE 06 and am shocked looking at the bill:

You can click to view the original Zoho Sheet.

Since I am still in a “software state of mind” (and btw, will return to SAPPHIRE posts soon), I can’t help but draw the analogy to the software industry:  Support and Maintenance charges in the Enterprise Software business are in the 20-25% range.  There is an ongoing debate about the viability of Open Source as a business model but several companies are experimenting with giving away the product and focus on additional revenue sources, i.e. support, maintenance, training ..etc.

Since the hotel industry is up to 18% in surcharges, why not make a dramatic move, “opensource” the rooms and make their numbers on all these other (bogus) fees?    (OK, before I get ripped apart, yes, I do realize running hotel rooms has actual material costs vs. downloading software, and that the Open Source model is a bit more complex … in other word, my analogy is far from perfect, but hey, it’s Friday afternoon, I am waiting for my plane and can have a little fun, can’t I?)

I see a lot more potential surcharges (on top of  the free rooms), like: clean hotel fee, airconditioning surcharge, towel fees at the pool, hot water fee in the bathroom, warm water fee at the pool,  low-noise airconditioning surcharge, no-cigarette-smell fee in the nonsmoking rooms, Broadband fee (yes, I know they already have it, but this would be extra for connection that actually works vs. trickles), private room fee (that is when you don’t get the keys to a room already occupied like it happened to me), fast or medium service surcharges at the restaurant..etc.  Of course when you can’t sleep at night because the damn airconditioning is so noisy, or when your nonsmoking room smells.. .etc, you don’t have to pay.  This could become the feedback / QA mechanism for the hotel industry, a’la the Open Source community support / QA in software.

The opportunities are tremendous, and we should not stop at the hotel industry.  Open Source the World!