Here’s A Hint For Hotels Losing Guests: Maybe It’s Time Free Internet Access Comes With The Room

Cutting corners to save on costs is understandable, but now that the economic downturn isn’t so downturny, hotel operators might want to think about trying to please their guests more. Perhaps throw in some free Internet access? Just a thought, as a new suvery says guest satisfaction is waning.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 study took responses from 61,700 hotel guests in North America, and showed a seven-point decline in satisfaction on its 1,000-point scale.

Things we’re somewhat okay with — the basic cost of a hotel stay and most fees. But when it comes to checking in and out, food, hotel services and hotel facilities, satisfaction levels reached new lows since the 2006 study, says the Chicago Tribune. Oh and guests are really starting to get annoyed with fees for using the Internet.

“As the industry continues to recover and rates increase, hoteliers need to get back to the fundamentals and improve overall guest experience,” said the eneral manager of the travel and hospitality practice at the firm.

A friendly, service-oriented staff is also a key part to pleasing customers, the survey found. Nice people trying to make your stay better and handing out free toothbrushes? No brainer, that one.

The brands with highest rankings, by category, were: luxury, The Ritz-Carlton; upper upscale, Omni Hotels & Resorts; upscale, Hilton Garden Inn and SpringHill Suites; mid-scale full-service, Holiday Inn; mid-scale limited-service, Drury Hotels; economy/budget, Jameson Inn; extended stay, Homewood Suites.

Satisfaction with hotel services at 6 year-low [Chicago Tribune]

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  1. Crackpot says:

    This is a sticky issue. Free WIFI leaves little incentive to upgrade when necessary. Upgrades are expensive, and involve replacing equipment throughout the hotel, plus increasing monthly costs from higher bandwidth usage. And yet, as a frequent business traveler (read: every week), I know how obnoxious it is to deal with slow internet access when trying to have business meetings with folks on the other side of the world. Their business day is our prime time download hour, and speed and reliability go down the drain.

    Someone has to pick up the slack. It sucks to have to pay for it… but I’d personally rather have one more charge to expense back to my company than have to make another excuse for why I can’t attend the Live Meeting session. Paid internet = reliable internet. Hotels can do more for customer satisfaction by throwing in a free appetizer for dinner or paying a little more attention when someone has a complaint.

    • meltingcube says:

      I’m not sure where you stay, but whenever I stay at a hotel which requires me to pay a fee for the internet, the speeds are no faster than the hotels offering free internet. Even if charging for it, they have no desire to get a true dedicated connection for their building and will typically just get the lowest business account they can get and then charge $10 a day for it. Enough people will pay for it to make a nice profit even if it sucks so they couldn’t care less.

      Lately I’ve just been tethering through my cell phone when I encounter one of these. With 4G speeds its just as fast and I don’t have as much of a worry of people seeing what I’m doing on the internet as you would get on a open hotel network.

  2. Optimistic Prime says:

    Two things: 1. You’re likely on vacation if staying at a hotel, relax! If you’re on a business trip and you need internet your company will pay for it. 2. Internet is free at home, why should it be free here? That said, I’m sure hotels with “complementary internet” simply charge more in their base rate.

  3. kaleberg says:

    It’s usually the cheaper hotels that have free wifi, and the more expensive ones that charge for it. Having stayed at Holiday Inn Express hotels and Four Season’s resorts, I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference in quality. I’ve had great access and lousy access independent of price. I think it’s mainly a matter of hotel commitment and their luck in finding a good provider.