December 01, 2016
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The Connected Traveler Expects Wi-Fi Now more than Ever

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The demand for Wi-Fi access is already huge globally and per Gigaom, by 2020 it is predicted that there will be 24 billion devices connected to the Internet – the vast majority of which will use some form of wireless for access. Connectivity demand is at an all-time high – some countries even spend 70% of their time on Wi-Fi and by next year it’s anticipated that Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all Internet traffic!

Being connected at home and at work has become the norm; and now we expect to be connected everywhere in between. But just how important is it that we remain connected and can the availability of Wi-Fi, or lack thereof effect decisions that we make?

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Well, Wi-Fi is important to us. It has become such an integral part of day-to-day life; not being able to connect is a huge inconvenience. A survey by Iconic Displays found that 75% of people said that a week without Wi-Fi would leave them grumpier than a week without coffee and a more recent report by iPass found that 40% of respondents claimed Wi-Fi is their “number one daily essential”.

Our love for Wi-Fi is so great that it is now beginning to dictate our purchase decisions.  Hotel guests expect free Wi-Fi as an essential to their stay and liken it to being as necessary as being able to take a shower. In a Hotels.com survey, guests ranked free Wi-Fi as the most important in-room amenity, guests with children cite it as crucial and business travellers consider it essential. More interestingly though the recent survey by iPass found that nearly 75% of travellers choose a hotel property based on its Wi-Fi capability, with one in five claiming they make purchase decisions this way for every hotel stay. Another study cements their findings with 21% saying they always choose their hotel based on the quality of the Wi-Fi and a quarter of guests say that they would not stay in a hotel and book elsewhere if there was no Wi-Fi available! Travellers “have an expectation of ubiquitous connectivity in their lives, especially younger travellers,” Henry H. Harteveldt, Airline & Travel Industry Analyst.”

While there are many reports and studies from across the hospitality industry on Wi-Fi and connectivity, one thing is clear: travellers’ unquenchable thirst for Wi-Fi will undoubtedly persist and if hotels don’t provide Wi-Fi to meet the demands of busy travellers, they may find themselves losing out to competitors that do.