A large survey of 10,437 business travellers by Accor Asia Pacific has found that travellers don't want free sub-par internet at hotels -- they want quality internet at a reasonable price, and they want it automatically built into their room rate.
"They are prepared to pay if the capacity is high and speed fast. The importance of the net is being reflected in Australia with many companies now negotiating ‘bed and broadband’ deals in preference to ‘bed and breakfast’," said Evan Lewis, Vice President Communications for Accor Asia Pacific.
The hotel group found that internet access is high on the list of ‘preferred’ services for the overwhelming majority of respondents, but increasingly corporate travelers are seeking ‘quality’ download speeds rather than just free (slower) internet.
"The question of internet access remains a contentious one. Many hotels across the region now offer limited free internet access, which does satisfy the needs of a large number of travelers, but for corporate travellers who need to work in their rooms, prepare reports or presentations or download large attachments, the issue is more of speed and capacity," said Lewis.
Accor said some travellers do just want to answer emails and print out airline tickets, and are happy with free internet terminals in hotel lobby areas for occasional access.
However, the survey results showed clearly that "technology is king" -- at least for Australians. Online check-in and check-out were key demands of the ‘hotel of the future’ as far as Australian corporate travelers were concerned.
Good coverage for smartphones in-room was important, and online booking for hotel facilities were considered far more important than fully personalised services, which was a higher priority for most Asian business travelers
Other key findings of the survey included:
Business travel still a boys' club? The survey was dominated by male respondents. In Australia, only 29% were female, and among travellers from other countries, the differences were even more pronounced -- only 7% of business travellers from India were female, for example.
Not so keen to be green. Only 38% of Australian travellers said they would pay more to stay in a "conspicuously green" hotel. This was starkly different to other countries -- 91% of Chinese, 67% of Indonesians and 62% of Indians said they'd pay more to support environmentally conscious hotelliers.
Australians splash more corporate cash: Australians have the largest hotel travel allowance in the Asia Pacific region – an average of US$158 per night, almost 20% higher than any of the other seven countries surveyed. Travellers from Australia are also more likely to have ‘no defined allowance’ for business travel.
Asians work harder than Australians on the road? 82% of Chinese and Singaporean corporate travelers said they work in the hotel during their international business trips, but only 72% of Australians said the same.
The research, conducted by leading Asia Pacific research consultancy Cimigo Ltd, surveyed members of Accor’s A|Club loyalty programme from eight destinations: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand and Thailand.
Accor operates hotels under brands including Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons and Ibis.