The hospitality business can be summed up in these six words:
Give the people what they want.
And what they want is free Wi-Fi.
As a hotelier, your primary objective is to ensure that your guests enjoy a comfortable stay with you. After all, the more positive an experience your guests have, the more likely they are to return to your hotel for future stays and make recommendations to their friends and colleagues. Today's hotels have to go beyond the basics of providing clean rooms and fluffy pillows, though. Modern guests expect modern amenities, and that means wireless Internet.
For those of us who grew up with dial-up Internet (or -- gasp! -- no Internet at all!), the notion of Wi-Fi may still seem like a luxury, but not so to the mobile generation. Our society has become so plugged in that it fully depends on a reliable Internet connection in order to stay connected to friends, family, business associates, clients, and more. Travelers use the Internet for basic directions, GPS, ticketless travel and entry, seeking out local attractions, scheduling services, maintaining correspondence, etc. -- and all of these things are necessary for a happy, comfortable stay.
Because the Internet is so crucial to meeting customer needs, Wi-Fi is no longer viewed as a novelty, luxury, or even an amenity -- it's simply expected! Travelers arrive at hotels with the preconceived notion that free Wi-Fi will be readily available to them.
According to Henry H. Harteveldt, a respected Airline and Travel Industry Analyst:
"[Travelers] have an expectation of ubiquitous connectivity in their lives, especially younger travelers. Walking on the street, in coffee shops… it frustrates them when they are told they're offline. The traveler wantst to have control over when they go online."
And, of course, this is also the expectation for hotels. In fact, Internet connectivity is so important to travelers that a recent Hotels.com survey revealed that guests actually ranked free Wi-Fi as being the most important in-room amenity. This feeling is shared across demographics, with business travelers rating Wi-Fi as "essential" and guests with children referring to Wi-Fi as "crucial."
How "essential" and "crucial" is it? Roomzzz conducted a survey of its own that discovered that nearly 2/3 (65%) of guests make it a point to log into a hotel's Wi-Fi within 7 minutes of checking in. The same survey also demonstrated that 25% of guests state that they would not stay in a hotel that didn't provide free, reliable Wi-Fi.
It's pretty amazing, then, that just 64% of hotels throughout the world have reported that they offer Wi-Fi, and that many major hotel brands and luxury hotels still charge their guests for Wi-Fi access. Does your hotel currently fall under either of these categories? If so, you could be missing out on as much as 25% of your potential business, and that number will only continue to climb as our world grows increasingly dependent on Internet access.
And free Wi-Fi can do more than simply allow your guests to jump online whenever they please. A solid wireless Internet connection keeps your business up and running, and can enable you to offer even more valuable guest services through the use of hotel mobile applications, keyless entry to rooms, a speedy business center, and the many incredible amenities associated with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system.
What's stopping you from making the decision to offer free Wi-Fi to your customers? Doing so will make a huge impact in your revenue and improve guest relations. Learn more about how you can use Wi-Fi and VoIP to your benefit by getting in touch with PhoneSuite today.