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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I remember being in a luxury hotel in Paris, Le Meridien in that case, where internet was free in the lobby, so the place looked like a train station with people stuffed everywhere (me too) and none ordering drinks (me too).
Whenever possible I give my business to hotels with free internet, free parking, and no resort or other ridiculous fees.
There is no reason why hotels shouldn’t have building-wide Internet access for free. They’re already paying for the Internet, so why not just boost it up to all of the rooms? Whether a hotel offers free Internet is a make or break for me. This is the 21st Century–get with the program!
Thanks for the FUN post. I don’t always believe all of the industry-sponsored surveys that I read and, I think – Accor Group is still the proud owner of Motel 6! Bleh!
That said, free in-house Wifi – and connections that WORK, is a close toss-up with a decent breakfast for me. In practice, I avoid hotels that don’t offer at least one and I simply refuse to pay for internet access. At least for me, it really IS that simple; an otherwise good house without ‘free’ internet access simply won’t get my business. We can fuss about breakfast, but if they charge me extra for slop, I’ll walk across the street and pay 25% of my houses’s charge and get what I want. The big chains may have other reasons for dispensing their perks as they do (Status or nought) but in 2012, a hot breakfast and internet access has become as essential as clean linens. I hope they are listening.
Great Whole Earth reference in the headline!
Funny thing is, at a fancy hotel in Korea (land of the connected) internet was free, but to make my own tea of coffee in the room cost $6.
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