5 years ago

Wifi not a deal breaker when it comes to recommending a hotel

Travellers might want free wifi in hotels, or in some cases just wifi (even paid) would be nice, but it may not be enough to dissuade them from telling friends about a property or abandoning it altogether.

While a study in the summer (and the ensuing comments) revealed that the majority of travellers expect free wifi in hotels, a report by Market Metrix does not throw it up as an ongoing issue affecting loyalty.

The report, which delved into nine million guest surveys, shows which problems cost the most, not necessarily because they occur more frequently but because of the effect on guest loyalty.

Product problems account for 58% of the total but have less of an impact on loyalty than service problems (particularly staff) which cause a decrease in loyalty of more than 20 points and are, therefore, far more costly to hotels in terms of guest retention and referrals.

The point Market Metrix is getting at is that the most frequent problems may not be the ones to fix as illustrated below. More people complained about noise than check-in delays but the related impact on loyalty and therefore revenue was far greater for check-in delays.

 Interestingly, many hotels are now trialling various initiatives around iPads and kiosks to iron or, at least give guests an alternative to, queuing at the check-in desk.

So, where is wifi (or lack of) in all of this? Market Metrix says internet connection and wifi problems do spring up from time to time and sometimes within the top 15 most frequent problems. Also, it depends on the hotel and often the issues arises more for limited service budget brands.

“Although internet problems may become frequent, they rarely have an impact on the likeliness to recommend. So, although it may be a frequent problem, it is not a costly one.”

It would appear it’s not a deal-breaker in terms of loyalty – do you agree?

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. Robert

    Wi-Fi is one of the key factors that separates a successful hotel to an average one. The 1% of hoteliers who invest into a Wi-Fi system by the quality of service and not by the cheapest price quoted will be the ones who are busier. Free Wi-Fi available in the rooms and not just the lobby is also a must to keep on edge with your competitors. Hotels with only Ethernet ports in the room are losing as Wi-Fi is needed for smartphones and tablets.

    I think this article is not accurate and having seen hotel guest Wi-Fi statistics myself I believe Wi-Fi is now more important than having water when staying in a hotel.

    • Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

      I believe that the elephant in the room on wifi for hoteliers is the explosion of Wifi enabled devices. With the vast majority of tablets sold without 3/4G – it means there is an almost exponential growth in data requirements. BYOD (lots of articles in the TNOOZ archives on this). So while Apple and Google are laughing all the way to the bank – Hoteliers have been left holding the bag on fulfilling a significant spike in data usage.

      What I believe is more telling – returning to the gist of this article – is that this is a problem that is going to grow not lessen. The pain will be felt at the owner/operator level not at the brand level. So frankly the brand is not going to be focused on this as a problem – as some of the other commentators have already alluded to.

      Therefore this is a challenging set of issues for the Hotelier community.



  2. gerardo

    I own and run two independent 4* hotel properties in Spain, and free high bandwidth Wifi drives repeat customers into our hotels, one urban, one beach. Since we contracted 100 MB optic fibre internet, customers stopped complaining not only about bad Internet, they stopped complaining altogether!

    The big international chains still charge for wifi, which is really feeding our business, with free Internet, free breafast and guaranteed upgrades for loyal customers; for half of the price of a chain hotel night.

    It is beyond my understanding why other independent properties still resist into realizing a really minor investment to have a great Internet experience. I have the figures and the statistics – it allows to steal quite a few customers from chain hotels with no free room wifi.

  3. Raj Chudasama

    It’s definitely a deal-breaker for me anywhere I travel too, doesn’t matter if it’s on business or leisure.

  4. Hubert from Belgium

    No free wifi is considered a ripoff, nowadays with tablets and smartphones it is a must.
    first thing in Sydney in March was going to Telstra to get a monthly subscription for our two month tour around and in Australia. Last month we were two weeks in Egypt and first thing was to get a local Mobinil microchip for our personal Mifi hotspot. Because hotels overcharging Wifi, we decided to rent an appartment and provide our own connection with the rest of the world. Our hotel in Germany this weekend was chosen due tomfree wifi. Travel will change, and if hotels dont bother, systems like airbnb that include free wifi will surpass soon bookings of hotel chains.

  5. Wayne Lawhorn

    Bandwidth is expected ! Hoteliers who “nickel & dime” (to get that little additional revenue stream) just don’t get the world we live in now. I’m insulted. Years ago and now most technology companies would not dream of holding a meeting in a hotel that did not provide bandwidth included with the stay.

    This for hoteliers is the same that the airlines are trying to do by selling everything a la carte. Soon toliet passes, Carry on bags (like NK is doing) …..

    Fuel surcharges ??? That’s bogus. We call it AIRFARE PART A & PART B.

    Just be TRUTHFUL and FULLY DISCLOSE all FEES (and services they buy or dont buy) upfront.
    Leave your Smart phone on (by mistake) on a cruise ship (and it sits there pinging) and see your bill !

  6. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    I have to question the methodology.

    The absence of something does not indicate the presence of something else. The issue should be behaviour. IE can we see something from say a neutral website (like Booking.com) where the decisions to book a particular hotel ONLY include Wifi enabled hotels AND if not what the percentage of wifi enabled hotels were selected in neutral (ie non-selected) cases.

    The issue of no impact on loyalty hides the fact that whole the guest may say he is not impacted by the factor – he chose a different product/brand the next time he selected a hotel. Something this study cannot indicate.

    Therefore I believe the analysis is flawed.At best its a stretch.


    • Linda Fox

      Thanks Tim, fair point although it’s not just about whether he/she would book away from hotels without wifi but also whether he would be more or less inclined to recommend the hotel to others

      • Gerard Ayala

        The topic itself is bit misleading, and analyzing the issue of available wifi for hotels is dependent on several factors, including location, hotel class, and accessibility.
        Business class and luxury brands are not only expected to have wifi property wide (free or fee based), but the service is expected to be flawless. Some boutique and budget brands may only offer wi-fi in the lobby or common areas. Small B & B or remote eco-lodges may actually highlight their lack of connection to the outside world while a guest at their property, and there are plenty of travelers who are perfectly happy with this notion.

      • Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

        I think the issue is loyalty but the true measure of loyalty is whether they book with you again. I can be hugely loyal to Ferrari. But I am not spending a dime with them…. its like the old joke. It’s Miller time – I’ll have a Bud Lite.




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