Published: 4th Dec 2014
We are living in a connected world. From computers and games consoles to tablets and smartphones, people are accessing the internet more than ever before. Indeed, they are increasingly coming to expect constant connectivity wherever they go.
As a result, it's becoming vital for businesses such as hotels and restaurants to offer Wi-Fi to their customers. With more and more people starting to see this as an essential part of a company's offering, those that fail to do so may find themselves left behind by their competitors.
According to a survey carried out by Hotels.com, Wi-Fi is ranked as the most desirable in-room amenity by people staying in hotels. In terms of general hotel offerings, it was rated as the third most important, behind only a complimentary breakfast and a restaurant.
Indeed, having access to the web was seen as a more pressing issue than the size of the hotel room, television facilities and daily housekeeping.
A separate study by the organisation found 34 per cent of people rate Wi-Fi as the most important consideration when choosing a hotel for leisure stays. The figure rose to 56 per cent among business travellers.
Taylor Cole, travel expert for Hotels.com, stated: "With an increase in airlines and airports offering free Wi-Fi, tech-savvy travelers expect the experience to continue upon arrival at their hotel.
"They are using their tablets, smartphones and laptops to plan activities, stay connected to family and even order a delivery meal straight to their hotel room, so it's no surprise they require free and fast Wi-Fi."
Restaurants and retailers
For restaurants, offering Wi-Fi has been found to be connected to customers spending more time and money at a venue. Indeed, some companies have even begun to experiment with web-based service rather than traditional table service.
Research by In-Stat has revealed 64 per cent of people think the availability of free Wi-Fi has an impact on their choice of restaurant or other venue. Customers are expecting to be connected wherever they go and are unhappy when this is not the case. For example, an Iconic Displays survey found 75 per cent of people think a week without Wi-Fi would leave them feeling grumpier than a week without coffee.
Of course, providing Wi-Fi to customers can be easier said than done, especially if you run a business located in a rural area, where fast and reliable broadband services can be few and far between. An ideal solution to this problem may be satellite-based internet.
Amy Cravens, a market analyst at the organisation, stated: "Our research shows that while revenue may not always be directly gleaned from the hotspot offering, free Wi-Fi has a significant value in bringing customers to a venue."
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