L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

11 October 2006 Blog Home : October 2006 : Permalink

Over-priced "Services"

I'm currently in Bahhhston for a trade show. One of the reasons I am attending (with colleagues) is to present a new product to potential clients. Since we didn't want to exhibit at the expo (for confidentiality reasons primarily) we needed a room in a nearby hotel where we could entertain and wow our clients. We've booked the room for a day and in the process discovered that if we wanted to rent a projector and screen for our powerpoint presentation that would be an extra $690 for the privilege. You can buy a projector fo that money. If we provide the projector ourselves the basic electrical+screen package i.e. laying a powerstip down to the middle of the table and putting a 2m screen up at one end is $140 (IIRC), which, if you do the sums means that it costs $550 for renting the projector.

$140 is quite a sum for about half an hour's work max and the rental of a powerstrip worht maybe $10 and a screen worth maybe $150. But there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative so we just get it and count it in the cost of room rental.

We have however balked at the projector rental. The projector is large and posh so it cost perhaps $2000. In other words after four rentals the hotel is making 100% profit on its investment. Hotels next to convention centres rent their rooms out to people like us maybe 50% of the year and, in these days of laptops and death by powerpoint, the vast majority of these rentals will also involve the showing of a powerpoint presnetation via a projector. So it seems likely that the projector would be demanded maybe 100 times a year in a particular room. That means the Hotel stands to gain about $55,000 in projector revenue if people use its projector.

This is what is known in the trade as a nice profit margin or, if you are the sucker invited to pay, a rip off. Not being suckers we have decided to seek an alternative choice.

Curiously if you go to Best Buy or Staples here in Bahhhston you can buy a very nice projector for $699 + tax. You can also return it no questions asked within 14 days for a full refund. Yesterday we bought ourselves a projector for today's entertaining. Tomorrow we will almost certainly return the projector (there has been some debate about keeping it because it is actually better than the one we left behind in Europe) giing us a rental charge of whatever two cab fares to Staples are - maybe $50 tops. In order to assuage our consciences we may buy an electronic gadget or two at Staples as well :)

It seems to me that if the hotel charged rather less for its equipment rental (maybe $250-$300 for the whole package) we wouldn't bother doing this so congratulations hotel - you have just lost revenue from us. I don't know how many others will do the same thing but I'll guess that a significant chunk of people who rent the room will also balk at this pricing...

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin