Free Wi-Fi on holiday more important than free coffee, survey reveals

A recent survey by GO Airport Express in Chicago has revealed that free Wi-Fi tops the hassle-free holiday list as connectivity appears to be valued more highly by guests than free coffee (other than a free breakfast in the morning).

Keeping connected while on a leisure trip is now an important part of a holiday – particularly a family one, and this also underscores the role social media plays in resort reputation management but also in recommendations.

So many of us keep up to date with close friends and family on Facebook now, and with Twitter and Pinterest gaining more followers, more quickly than Facebook these platforms play an important role in what you could call “peer-to-peer PR”. Being able to talk with loved ones on Skype who are thousands of miles away is another reason consumers give extra points to hotels and resorts where Wi-Fi is freely available. Who wants to traipse down to the local internet café in Malaga when you could catch up on emails a couple of times a day at your resort?

When Go Airport Express asked 600 of its customers what, aside from breakfast, was their favourite hotel freebie, 57 per cent listed Wi-Fi.

The second most popular answer, at 30 percent, was free transportation between the hotel and the airports; after that came in-room coffee and tea, at 25 percent; having a health club and pool, 17 percent; and a complimentary newspaper came in at 15 percent. Fourteen percent of respondents said their favourite freebie was airport and baggage check in during check out and 13 percent said happy hour topped their list.

Perhaps surprisingly, free biscuits and snacks were further down the list at just 10 per cent. Six percent valued being able to borrow a complimentary umbrella on a rainy visit, the same number liked the idea of free bathrobes (as opposed to towels), while being able to borrow a bicycle while on holiday came in at just under three percent.,

“Today’s travellers are increasingly more savvy and are demanding more from their choice of lodging,” says John McCarthy, president, GO Airport Express. “In order to differentiate from other properties and build loyalty, hotels need to be responsive to traveller needs in their offered amenities.”

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