We live in the digital age where we expect to be able to get online all of the time, whether it be to update our social media statues, send work emails or Facetime our friends and family, especially Millennials who have never really known any different. I myself, even though born in the Millennial age range, identify as a xenial (born late 1970s to early 1980s) so I remember a time before the need to be constantly online was a thing and the sound of a dial-up connection still haunts me to this day. However, I didn’t know any different, emails were for business people, social media was in its infancy and Facetime simply didn’t exist. Yet now, I depend on having access to the internet at all times, especially as a blogger, wherever I am in the world. When it comes to travelling, with the rise of budget airlines more people seem to be jetting off more often, and what once was seen as a luxury has now become a necessity.We’ve teamed up with KBR, business WiFi providers, to investigate whether free internet connection has become one of the main factors when searching for a hotel room when travelling.
Travellers now have high expectations and this is causing companies to adjust marketing strategies to improve the experience of booking a holiday. When it comes to the millennial demographic, 46% book travel through a smartphone which means websites must be optimised and responsive to fit customer needs. To validate how much digital perks have impacted the way we travel, 87% look to the popular social media platform, Facebook, for travel inspiration, meaning that they are using the internet before they lay down any solid foundations for booking a holiday.
For business travellers, 49% favoured free Wi-Fi over anything else. This was followed by free breakfast that came at a poor 14%, proximity to mass transit, transportation and shops all at 11%, and a small 6% with regard to having a comfortable work chair and a desk in a room — which comes as a surprise due to the purpose of their trip.
This shows that an internet connection for a businessperson on the road is vital, as on-the-go and instant communication is a requirement that must be met and this has led to more hotels conforming to guest needs.
When we looked at leisure travellers, 25% of them prioritised free Wi-Fi. What’s more, 22% required a free breakfast after their night’s stay, 15% had free parking at the forefront of their minds and 10% needed a hotel with a swimming pool included before booking.
It’s evident that Wi-Fi has adapted itself into our everyday lives and we are becoming more reliant on it, with 65% of guests logging onto the Wi-Fi within seven minutes of arrival. Well you’ve got to check in, right? Or put a tour of your room on Insta Stories? And what about that cheeky episode of Friends on Netflix before bed?
Hoteliers Understanding Traveller Trends
A London hotel carried out research to see what was more important — location or a hotspot connection. When guests were asked, 67% said Wi-Fi was the deciding factor on whether they chose a hotel or not, topping 65% of people who said they would decide purely on geographic location. This could be due to the fact that transport has become more efficient around the country, especially in London and the expansion of the night tube network, with most services also introducing free Wi-Fi connection to commuters.
58% of people said that they cared more about a good night’s sleep which was surprisingly low when looking at the statistics that surrounded the importance of an internet connection. But what can hoteliers do to work with what customers are demanding?
Larger budgets are being assigned by hoteliers to continue the use of Wi-Fi within their hotels and, according to a report in 2016, 56% of hotels said that they were prioritising in-room technology in their next budget. This was because, on average, short-term guests will bring up to three devices and guests that are staying for longer periods tend to bring more — showing that hotels must start to meet the demands of their consumers to stay on top and highlighting the importance of making bold movements within the accommodation industry.
Are you reliant on having wifi when you travel? Is it a factor for you when deciding on the hotel that you book for your trip?
Sources and Further Reading: