The internet wants to be free. Or at least internet users want it to be free, especially at hotels. A recent survey commissioned by the Accor group, operating more than a dozen hotel brands and covering more than 4,400 properties around the world, suggests that free internet access is the fastest growing concern among business travelers in the Asia-Pacific region where the study was performed. There are plenty of things which guests care about and there are a variety of demographic trends which suggest different groups care about different things. But after not figuring in the study at all last year this year’s version suggests that nearly half of hotel guests rank free wifi as a major factor in their booking strategy.
Not too much of a surprise, really, that guests want free wifi, right? What is surprising, however, is the response from Accor to the news. They have announced that they will make internet connectivity free at the nearly 500 hotels they operate in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of 2012.
Many of their budget and mid-range hotels already offer free internet but the upscale and luxury brands often do not. Actually those brands generally charge quite a premium for the service. Well, they did, anyways. No more.
Business travelers appear fed up enough that they are no longer willing to pay the fees, even if it is on an expense account. That’s apparently enough to convince the hotelier to change policies. I just wonder when they’re going to run a similar study in other regions of the world. Seems unlikely to me that folks in other regions are all that much happier about paying for WiFi at the hotel.
Read more about the study and results:
Oh, and if you enjoy booking at Accor hotels but would rather pay 3% less on the rates while still earning your points and booking on the company sites, check out the Accor booking rebate links here, part of the Wandering Aramean Travel Tools suite of products.
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