In a perfect world, traveling would be easy; there would be less lines at airports, friendlier security procedures, and extra legroom for all.
Hotels would roll out the red carpet for every guest, late check-outs would be mandatory, and loyalty programs wouldn't come with blackout dates. But none of the above are the issues that travelers can't live without, so says a survey from InterContinental Hotels Group.
The biggest source of stress for travelers: Internet access.
According to a survey of 1,000 frequent business travelers released by IHG, 62% of people consider Internet access the most important hotel amenity. Having a TV set was a distant second with 20% of respondents saying they wanted one in their room, and most travelers didn't seem to care much about a mini-fridge (5%), landline phone (4%), bathtub (3%) or even the coveted mini-bar (1%).
What it came down to in this survey was the ability to connect while on-the-go. And not just connecting for business and email purposes, but connecting with family.
The survey revealed that 25% of travelers log into the Internet from their hotel room when they first arrive to because it helped them feel most at home while being away.
Almost half of survey respondents (47%) said that connecting with family back home was the best way to de-stress after a long day of work. A whopping 83% of survey takers said that free Internet access would make them much happier while traveling for business. And so IHG is taking on their challenge…
The hotel company announced it will give free Internet access to all members of its newly-named loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club.
The perk extends to every loyalty member, regardless of how long they stay or whether they're checked-in for business or leisure travel. Elite members will get the perk first starting in July, while all other members will have to wait until 2014.
The move to bring free WiFi to hotel guests isn't a new conquest, by any means, but hotels are getting a bit savvier with how they approach this. Loyalty members, for example, get first priority.
Ritz-Carlton Gold and Platinum members enjoy free WiFi for all stays, and Preferred Hotel Group members are treated to free WiFi also. Marriott Hotels & Resorts recently rolled out free Wi-Fi access in the lobbies of its nearly 500 hotels, and Hyatt's Andaz brand offers "social" lobbies with WiFi for all guests to enjoy.
How often do you check in while you're traveling?This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com