Travelers Base Destination Decisions on Digital Amenities

In this era of constant connectedness, taking a vacation can either be a relaxing getaway from the constant barrage of digital information, or a frustrating feeling of being out of touch with family, friends, and most of all, work. While some consumers choose to power down on their holiday trips and enjoy the quiet, a growing number of travelers actually seek out destinations that will help them stay in touch with their responsibilities back home.

“Sometimes, taking my laptop and cellphone with me is the only way I can go on a vacation,” explained one businessman when asked about his internet usage while on vacation. “If I want to go spend time with my family, I still have to be able to be reached by my boss. Having an internet connection means the difference between a family getaway, and staying behind while my wife and kids travel without me.”

A recent survey of 1,400 hotel guests conducted by Hotel Internet Service showed that a significant number of travelers make their hotel decisions based on digital amenities. Options like free Wi-Fi, in-room streaming, and self-service business centers can have a huge impact on the selection criteria that consumers use to make their travel plans.

And it’s not enough for a hotel to offer Wi-Fi and other options, but they have to be economically priced or free, and still have the same connection speed that travelers are used to using at home.

“So what does the survey tell us?” asked Hotel Internet Service CEO Gary Patrick in a blog post reporting the survey findings. “For hotel administrators and IT staff, it tells us that a large percentage of travelers who bring a laptop with them on their trip, require Wi-Fi in their room, and having this capability will influence their decision on where to stay. A smaller percentage prefers a wired connection. The Wi-Fi has to have good signal coverage, as this was the number one complaint about the services they had used in the past.”

One way that Wi-Fi is furthering influencing travelers is in their willingness to stay at out-of-the-way locations or to book with lesser known, independently-owned establishments rather than major chain accommodations, all because of the availability of digital amenities. As many as 71% of the respondents in the survey stated that in-room Wi-Fi access was a deciding factor in their booking decision, leaving industry professionals to question why some name-brand hotels still only offer fee-based internet connections or connectivity only in the lobby’s business center. The survey went on to indicate that consumers are concerned or disgruntled by the lack of connection, especially if that particular amenity was highlighted as available at the time of booking.

As consumers continue to live their day-to-day lives in a society that fosters internet connectedness, whether by retail-based hotspots, portable Wi-Fi, or even cellphone internet connections, the travel and luxury industries will have to keep up or risk losing even their loyal customers to opportunities that cause less disruption from the vacation experience.

Written by Michael Kozlowski.