Although many guests choose to go to a boutique hotel to “get away from it all”, evidence shows that they all want free and fast WiFi when they get there.
In a recent #LuxTravelChat about boutique hotels on Twitter, frustrated guests said that the thing they never wanted to see in a hotel again was a charge for WiFi. Accessing the Internet has become so engrained in our day-to-day lives that having to pay for it (or worse still, not having access to it at all) seems, well…rather ridiculous.
Another survey shows that travellers rank free and fast WiFi as the most important amenity in hotel rooms and, as the old phrase goes: The customer is always right. “Access to the Internet is something that is, basically, like oxygen” said Stephen Holmes of Wyndham Worldwide.
So why is free and fast WiFi so important?
Free and fast WiFi at boutique hotels is important for a number of reasons. It’s not that #boholovers want to be stalking their friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law on Facebook all day, rather, they want to be able to make contact on their terms and use the Internet to customise and improve their stay. And there are some practical reasons too.
1. All-round communication
Having access to free and fast WiFi means that guests can stay in touch with their families and friends and happy guests mean better hotel experiences. Whether they want to update their social media accounts with a photo of that very Instagrammable wet room, or have a Skype call with their family, free and fast internet access will help them to feel relaxed and satisfied.
2. Work and business
With remote work on the rise, hotels are not just catering for business travellers who need a place to stay for the night before a meeting, they’re accommodating people who work and travel. The better and more accessible an internet connection is, the more time business travellers can spend utilising everything a hotel has to offer. Free and fast WiFi enables guests to work from the hotel, which means they don’t need to leave and spend money in a cafe, when they can stay and work from their room, the hotel lobby…or bar.
3. On-trip planning
Free and fast WiFi makes it easy for guests to make the most of their holiday, enabling them to access all kinds of web-based information. Once hooked up to a WiFi connection, travellers can use their devices to find out opening times for attractions like the nearby national park, book tickets to the theatre and even complete practical tasks like checking in for their next flight on a mobile app. In this context, WiFi offers a seamless guest experience, which is something that #boholovers expect.
4. Avoiding roaming charges
Although the EU is scraping data roaming charges, international travellers still have to cough up to use the Internet on their mobile devices. If a hotel offers free and fast WiFi, travellers are going to be able to save money during their trip at a relatively minor cost to the hotel. Who knows, maybe they’ll be encouraged to book that in-room spa treatment with the money they’ve saved.
5. Creating a true, full-service hotel
Global brands believe that free and fast WiFi isn’t just a benefit for travellers, it actually helps hotels innovate and offer the best experiences for their guests. Additionally, by giving employees access to information in real-time, they have the ability to provide instant and relevant service to guests right at that moment, which is crucial for boutique hotel guests who are looking for a really personalised service. It doesn’t just stop at check-in, though, there are endless possibilities for using WiFi to mobilise all kinds of guest services and enterprise requirements. Mobile room service, anyone?
Free WiFi is the future
Guests see this amenity as absolutely essential to their hotel experience. In a recent survey, almost ¾ of guests said they’d walk away from a hotel that didn’t have free and fast WiFi, which is bad news for hoteliers who don’t want to get set up.
We’re hoping that 2016 is the year that will change the relationship between hotels and Internet access.
How are you dealing with the increasing demand for free and fast WiFi in hotels?