Results from market research agency, BDRC Continental show asurge in the proportion of business travellers using Wi-Fi, but increased resistance to paying for the privilege.
The British Hotel Guest Survey conducted online interviews with 2,000 travellers.
“Every year we have seen usage of Wi-Fi increase among both business and leisure travellers,” said Tim Sander, Research Director at BDRC Continental, “but in the last twelve months the proportion of business travellers has jumped from 56 per cent to 73 per cent. This year is that business travellers are starting to resist what they clearly consider to be excessive charges.”
Sander’s assertion is based on analysis of findings on the pricing point at which people would begin to ‘log off’. Opinion was divided at £5, with roughly 40 per cent saying they probably or definitely would be prepared to pay, and 39 per cent saying they probably or definitely would not. When that price was increased to £15, however, 79 per cent would be unwilling to pay.
For years now, hotel chains have been in turmoil as to whether the benefit of offering free Wi-Fi outweighs the cost impact. While evidence showing that fewer people will buy at a higher price point may not be revolutionary in itself, the British Hotel Guest Survey also revealed that among all UK business travellers, 49 per cent are ‘very likely’ to replace their number one choice hotel brand in favour of another brand that offered free Wi-Fi, assuming location and cost factors were satisfied.
The question of Wi-Fi apart, the British Hotel Guest Survey has revealed a domestic hotel market that is beginning to recover. “The British Hotel market, while still in flux, is showing signs that allow us to be cautiously optimistic,” continues Sander. “Business traveller room nights are up by two million, bookings through hotel websites are at an all time high and the influence of loyalty programme participation on hotel choice is higher thanever before. All this leaves inspires confidence that the business and leisure travellers have begun to re-engage with the market place”.
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