January 17, 2012

Free Wi-Fi the make it or break it factor in online hotel booking


hotels.com recently conducted a hotel amenities survey, asking travelers to dish on their favorite in-room and hotel perks. Question after question, guests reported that free Wi-Fi is a must when choosing a hotel room and that this amenity overwhelmingly factored into the decision on which hotel to book.

Thirty-eight percent of travelers reported that free Wi-Fi played a part in their decision as a “must” to stay at a specific hotel, 35 percent reported it is the simple amenity they want to see more in hotels, with 31 percent wishing it would become a standard in all hotels in 2012.

“Given the explosion of mobile use in the past few years, it is no surprise that travelers are requiring free and fast Wi-Fi,” said Taylor L. Cole, APR, director of public relations and social media for hotels.com. “Many guests never travel without their tablets, smartphones and laptops. It’s as intuitive as packing a toothbrush. Guests use these items in their rooms to plan activities for the next day. We are also seeing an uptick in mobile booking the day of a stay. Guests are creating their trips while on-the-go with Tonight’s Local Deals on our site and the hotels.com mobile apps, which feature exclusive mobile deals – it is only natural that they’d want to stay connected while in their hotel rooms.”

To round out the tech responses, 23 percent of guests stated their favorite modern in-room amenity was the use of iPads for guest services, local information and personal use. This ranked above air purifiers/humidifiers, high-end coffee makers, iPod dock, massage chairs, video game systems, universal remote rooms and workout equipment/DVDs.

Food and Beverage

Second to technology, guests are most pleased when their favorite food and beverages are provided during their hotel stay.

45 percent reported that their favorite new amenities are: happy hours, wine tastings or any other time with free food and drinks31 percent of travelers expressed their wish to see more complimentary bottled water in their hotel rooms (34 percent of female travelers; 24 percent of male travelers.
On Stealing While Traveling…

Despite some guests stealing linens/towels (14 percent) or magazine/books (12 percent) from hotel rooms, over 66 percent of hotel guests have never stolen an item from their hotel room.

Other amenities

Travelers felt like extra luxuries like turndown service and bath menus were “not worth the hype,” according to 44% of female respondents and 30% of male respondents.

The bathroom phone gets no love. It is the least used hotel amenity, with 37 percent of total respondents saying they never touch it.

When asked about amenities at luxury hotels, women prefer designer toiletries (23 percent) and men prefer the fitness center and spa (27 percent.)

When asked if they could stay celebrity-style, the top option for both men (35 percent) and women (38 percent) was to have their kitchen pre-stocked with their favorite food and beverages.

However, a close second was the ability to have a private pool and hot tub in the room (37 percent of women; 34 percent of men.) These options beat out such fun or diva-esque in-room demands like: an arcade, favorite fresh flowers everywhere, private staff or a movie screening room.

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