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Free Wi-Fi Could Be the Key to Reeling in Business Travelers

A report released by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation provides a snapshot of how Internet-based technologies are utilized within the North American travel industry.

According to the results of a report released by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, free Wi-Fi is a powerful incentive in reeling in the custom of business travelers.

The results of the foundation’s research, released in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, indicate that between 64 and 69 percent of this demographic would book directly with a property if this amenity was included in their rate.

However, those within the industry feel that special, members-only incentives and rates could be used as sweeteners to get business guests to book directly via a property’s website or app.

The GBTA Foundation’s report is intended to give a snapshot of how technology is utilized by both travelers across the U.S. and Canada as well as within the North American hospitality industry at large.

Out of the 831 travelers surveyed, only 16 percent confirmed that they booked directly with a hotel in exchange for free Internet service. 61 percent of travelers also confirmed that they simply used the complimentary Wi-Fi open to all of a property’s guests.

The hope is that as travelers become more knowledgeable about the incentives or perks of a particular hotel policy, it will become more likely that they will book with the property directly in the future.

While the report stated that different demographics utilized apps and technologies for a variety of purposes during their business stays, it also confirmed that “Internet access still reigns supreme for business travelers when it comes to hotel technology.”

But Monica Sanchez, GBTA Foundation Director of Research, confirmed that the industry is always looking to build and improve in-line with the expectations as set by business travelers themselves.

“In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies, but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities, especially Wi-Fi as that remains most important for business travelers. Hotels have room to expand the capabilities of their mobile app as well as promote increased awareness of those capabilities as the interest is there,” she said.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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NoleATL September 13, 2016

Seems like the more expensive a hotel's rates, the less chance they offer free wifi. I tend to compare rates at the hotel's direct site and the Orbitz's. If rates are the same and only one offered free wifi, I will book on that site.

edgewood49 September 12, 2016

Old news really. Most mainstream hotels today offer free wifi.