Ten years ago, Hotels.com ran a worldwide survey on WiFi, which revealed that 56% of respondents deemed it ‘a must’ when travelling on business.
A decade later, insights from a recent Travel News (Tourism Update’s sister publication) poll revealed that good WiFi and stable connectivity are essential for 92% of corporate travellers. Yet, not all hotels get this right and travellers often complain to their agents that the WiFi at some hotels is sub-par.
“There’s no doubt that accessibility to good WiFi influences corporate clients’ decisions when choosing a hotel,” says Rachael Penaluna, Business Manager of Sure Maritime Travel.
Penaluna says, surprisingly, there are quite a few hotels, particularly in Africa, that do not have acceptable WiFi – and Zubeide Kadri, Office Manager at XL Flywell Travel, agrees.
“It would be encouraging to see more establishments offer free high-speed WiFi together with good connectivity. This, in my opinion, could act as a tool to encourage guests to stay longer, which in turn will increase loyalty and customer satisfaction,” Kadri says.
Tourism Update can attest to this, having recently attended a 600-person plus conference in Botswana where the venue’s spotty WiFi was a constant issue for delegates.
Some hotel owners clearly do understand the role of good connectivity in meeting the needs of corporate travellers.
“We at aha Hotels & Lodges have gone to great lengths to ensure that all our properties aren’t just WiFi-enabled, but that it is free,” says Marketing Manager, Ruzandri Stoltz.
Penaluna says Sure Maritime Travel keeps a list of hotels that provide good WiFi for one of its corporate clients, and tries to exclusively use those hotels, so important is it to the client.
“Corporates work on the move and WiFi is essential to being productive. I’ve had clients ask me to move them to a different hotel when the WiFi where they are staying is poor,” she comments.
There is a consensus that access to WiFi should be the norm and, according to Kadri, most corporate travellers, specifically on short stays, wouldn’t question whether WiFi access was offered or not because in the world we live in today, this is taken for granted.
“Good WiFi is an absolute must for corporate travellers, and it is definitely key in the selection of a hotel or venue to host an event. Hotels that don’t provide WiFi for their guests are missing out because travellers will simply look elsewhere for accommodation or an event venue that can meet their connectivity requirements,” remarks Stoltz.