Monday, January 16, 2012

Hotels that fail to offer free wi-fi 'lose out'

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 "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 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 drinks

· 31 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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