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Report: Hotel Guests in Europe Want Free Internet; More SecurityDecember 9, 2011 By: Jena Tesse Fox
Freud probably didn't ask it, but people in the industry are always wondering: What do travelers want in their hotels?
We finally have some answers: According to a recent pan-European survey from Choice Hotels, hoteliers in the region say what their business travelers want most are free wireless or Internet services (90 percent) and 24-hour security and desk support (60 percent).
After Wi-Fi and security, just under half (49 percent) of hoteliers polled believed business travelers highly valued a late check-in or early check-out and 37 percent said an on-site restaurant was another crucial amenity. (Percentages add up to more than 100 percent as survey respondents were invited to choose more than one item from a list of eight as being “most important.”)
At the other side of the scale, the amenities that hoteliers believe were less valued by business travelers surprisingly include a business center (33 percent), airport transportation (18 percent ), and a fitness center (12 percent).
The survey, conducted at the annual Choice Hotels European Convention in Nice, France this past October, polled approximately 100 hotel owners, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic and asked them to rank what hotel amenities business travelers valued the most. In addition to business travel, European hoteliers were polled on the current state and economic environment of the hospitality industry overall.
Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed believe the hotel sector will see a sustained upturn in 2021, although another quarter (26 percent) believe that the industry will not show any new signs of recovery in the coming yet. Yet almost half (40 percent) believe room rates in Europe will return to pre-financial crisis levels next year.
As for how these hoteliers are weathering the storm, 82 percent said that increasing their property’s marketing activities in order to attract new customers is their top priority over the next six months.
However, doing so through social networks received mixed reviews, with only 28 percent viewing such activities as a useful tool in building customer relationships and driving loyalty and another 39 percent believing that while a presence in social networks raises general awareness of a property, such sites will never become respected booking channels (compared to 27 percent that believe such channels will account for 5-10 percent of bookings over the next three years).
Although, when asked, almost half (47 percent) of respondents confirmed they have created a hotel profile on at least one social networking site and 71 percent regularly monitor what consumers are saying about their properties online. However, six percent have no intentions of implementing any social networking strategies at all.