Frequent travelers are willing to pay a premium for high quality, high-speed hotel Internet access (HSIA) service, according to new research from iBAHN and the Ypartnership. For some travelers, the quality of technology is more important than the hotel brand.
Nearly half of business travelers surveyed are willing to pay in order to meet their business and personal information and entertainment requirements while travelling the study reports.
The study, the second annual iTRAVELLER survey, was developed by iBAHN and YPartnership to better understand business travelers, their expectations and needs, and their use of technology while traveling.
“The data from this latest iteration of the survey underscore the growing importance of access to the latest technology in hotel and resort selection by frequent travelers,” said Peter Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, the co-author of the survey. “In fact, several technology attributes now eclipse the importance of the property’s brand name.”
Demand for hotel Internet services is driven by significant growth in the use of streaming video. According to YouTube, users are now downloading more than 100 million videos per day. In June 2010, more than 2.5 billion YouTube videos were watched by 20 million users. iTRAVELLER behavior at home is also raising the expectations for in-room technology, the study notes.
In one year (from 2009 to 2010), there was a 236 percent increase of those watching television on their desktop or laptop computers. iTRAVELLER data indicates there is a new perspective of the in-room flat screen as a practical digital portal, with 54 percent of respondents wanting a monitor capable of viewing the Internet.
There is also strong interest in using the screen for reviewing guest charges (62 percent of respondents), checking out (61 percent), shopping for travel services (55 percent), ordering room service (53 percent), and arranging a wake-up call (53 percent).
In addition to the more than 40 percent of iTRAVELLERS who revealed their willingness to pay for more bandwidth or faster Internet service, more than 80 percent of study participants indicated that their companies will reimburse business travelers for HSIA use at hotels.
Eighty percent of iTRAVELLERS said that data security and privacy is very important to them.
“Hotel ownership and management groups need to create differentiation. Not only to set themselves apart from the competition but also to distinguish portfolio properties,” said iBAHN CEO David W. Garrison. “Providing highly reliable and secure HSIA is currently one of the best ways of creating affinity and improving customer satisfaction.”
iBAHN is a global provider of digital entertainment and Internet solutions for the hospitality and meeting industries.