Free hotel WiFi isn't a luxury anymore. It's the very least a hotel can do to meet guest expectations. Recent data points to WiFi being one of the most important amenities a hotel can offer.
WiFi access used to be something you would begrudgingly purchase at great cost if you needed to get access to your email while you are at a hotel. Recent statistics from a survey conducted by Roomzzz indicate that Wifi is one of the most important parts of the guest experience with 65% of guests getting online within seven minutes of checking in and a third requesting the WiFi password as soon as they arrived. Respondents also listed WiFi as #2 on their wish lists. Only free room upgrades were considered more appealing.
According to the J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, free WiFi is one of the three most important amenities alongside breakfast and parking. In the survey, 71% of hotel guests say they received complimentary WiFi and over half received complimentary breakfast and free parking.
Further proof that hotel guests are demanding more digital interaction can be seen in a rising trend in virtual concierge services. 61% of respondents in a recent survey conducted by Marriott Rewards on the future of travel said that they believe it's possible that hotels in the future will cater to their guests through 24/7 virtual concierge services. This is already becoming a reality for some guests with some hotels beginning to experiment with artificially intelligent concierge services.
Free Hotel WiFi For All
Where hotel WiFi used to be solely the domain of those traveling for business, it has now become a key part of the hotel experience for the majority of guests. Largely thanks to social media and instant messaging, there is a growing need to be permanently connected to the internet. A hotel with fast, free WiFi is almost a necessity for the always-on guest of today.
For some, getting online is an absolute necessity. 61% of the Roomzzz survey respondents felt "bored, lonely and cut off from the real world" if they were unable to get online. 10% said they would go into an all-out panic if they couldn't connect to the internet.
The In-Room Experience
It's not all about communicating with the outside world. According to the Roomzzz survey, A quarter of respondents said that they ignored the complimentary television and used the WiFi to watch online streaming services. Having the ability to watch what they want, when they want is something guests are used to in their normal life. They expect the same access when they are staying at hotels. The survey also revealed that the most frequent use of free hotel WiFi was to check the weather at their current location.
These days, hotel guests don't just want an internet connection, they expect it. Providing a free internet connection not only appeases guests' needs to connect with the outside world, it also enhances the overall experience.