Hotel Guests Crave Free Wi-Fi according to the LA Times

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.

USA Today: Hotel Guests More Satisfied During Downturn According to J.D. Power

According to the Hotel Check-in section of USA Today, guests are more satisfied with hotels during the downturn.  You can read the entire article and some pretty insightful comments here.  From the article:

“Hotel guests have generally been happier with their hotel experience in the past 12 months vs. the prior year as room rates dropped and crowds thinned, according to J.D. Power and Assoc.’s latest study that measures how well hotel chains satisfy their customers.”

The reasons for increased satisfaction according to the article:

“The travel downturn: With fewer people on the road, people who did travel found emptier hotels, which meant they encountered less competition for the treadmill in the fitness center, or less of a chance to stand in line at a busy convention hotel.”

“Cost: Hotel rates fell in the last 12 months, and customers generally felt more satisfied with what they received for their money.”

“Hotels operations: Hotels genuinely got better at pleasing their customers in the past year due to stiff competition for guests. “All of them are focused on improving guest satisfaction,” Schwartz says. Almost all of the chains increased their scores on a year-over-year basis – and not a single hotel chain saw its score drop significantly, he says.”

Our take:  It is somewhat surprising to see increased satisfaction as we are all battling with being understaffed.  Most hotels that we talk with have similar or higher occupancy but have much lower staffing levels because the ADRs are so low.  We believe that much of it comes down to cost.  Many guests are more satisfied simply because the rooms cost less and there is much more perceived value.

Guest Room Knocking Etiquette

Having stayed in many hotels, we have experienced our share of disturbances. Unfortunately, many of these disturbances have been caused by the hotel’s staff.  The most awkward and uncomfortable ones come from the knocks and entries at the guest room door.  People treat their guest rooms in a hotel like their bedrooms at home.  Unfortunately, they do not think about the fact that many employees in that hotel have a key to these bedrooms.  On the other hand, many hotel employees do not think of hotel guest rooms as being private to the hotel guests.  Three knocks and a quick key swipe and they have entered the room, too quick for the guest to object.

Most guests like to be comfortable in their rooms and are not in their normal, public attire.  It is very embarrassing to be seen that way in an unplanned fashion.  Make sure that all employees in your hotel are properly trained in the etiquette of how to properly knock and enter a guest’s room.  Here are some the tips to remember: Continue reading