According to a survey by J.D. Power & Associates, free Wi-Fi is now the most important thing for hotel guests in nearly every segment of hotels. The LA Times reported on the results in the article found here. From the article:
Of guests staying at mid-scale hotels, 96% said they got free Wi-Fi, as did 64% of guests at budget hotels, according to the survey of guests who stayed in hotels from May 2009 to June 2010. None who stayed in luxury hotels said they got free wireless Internet.
We are surprised that 96 percent of guests in mid-scale hotels are now getting free Wi-Fi. The free Wi-Fi spread at an incredible pace. We are not surprised that no guests reported free Wi-Fi in luxury hotels. Free Wi-Fi is a selling tool and makes little difference at a luxury hotel. From the article:
At the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel chain, the fee for Wi-Fi access is a top complaint among guests, said Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian A. Deuschl. Although some Ritz-Carlton hotels offer free Internet access in the lobbies and other public spaces, the hotel chain based in Maryland will continue to charge for the service in guest rooms, she said.
We are actually surprised by the lack of wireless internet in guest rooms or the poor quality of wireless internet in guest rooms. Many hotels still offer wired internet only. Not having Wi-Fi will actually cost you business. Many guests now travel with Wi-Fi only devices, such as the very popular iPad. In fact, this holiday shopping season, we are going to see more tablet computers from almost every manufacturer. By next year, you will see many, many guests with Wi-Fi only tablet computers in your restaurant.