Business Travelers Wi-Fi Trends

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In a world where connectivity is king, business travelers continue to pay a premium to stay in contact with their office, customers, and families while traveling. Because being inaccessible is not an option, their choice in hotel accommodations must take into consideration the availability and cost of Wi-Fi service.

Results of a new global survey conducted by Amba Hotels detail how much business travelers are spending on Wi-Fi in key business travel markets. Amba Hotels polled business travelers in the UK, US, France, and Germany.

On average, UK business travelers spend $24.83 per trip while US business travelers spend $15.10 per trip. Contributing to the lower cost per trip in the US is the fact that Wi-Fi is typically less expensive in the US, and free Wi-Fi is more widely available.

According to the research, here is how the overall cost (in U.S. dollars) of Wi-Fi to business breaks down for each market surveyed:

  • France – $263 million annually, averaging $25.01 per trip
  • UK – $565 million annually, averaging $24.83 per trip
  • Germany – $4 billion annually, averaging $23.87 per trip
  • US – $7.3 billion annually, averaging $15.10 per trip

Hotels Charge the Most for Wi-Fi

The survey also revealed that hotels and airports charge the most for Wi-Fi. Topping the list of the most expensive hotels to stay connected are Four Seasons, Marriot, Mandarin Oriental, and InterContinental hotels in UK markets.

For instance, Four Seasons offers free Wi-Fi for up to two devices. However, to access their premium Wi-Fi services, business travelers must pay $23.83 per 24 hours of access. Marriott offers free service to loyalty members but charges non-members $15.23 per day for regular speeds and $22.85 for high-speed access.

 

The Cost of Wi-Fi is Also High in Airports

Two of the most important airports for business travelers charge the most for Wi-Fi. London’s Heathrow airport offers free Wi-Fi for the first four hours. If travelers need longer access, they have the option of paying $4.57 for one hour, $7.62 for three hours, or $13.71 for 24 hours.

Business travelers in New York’s JFK airport get an entirely different deal. There is no free Wi-Fi available. Everyone must pay $4.95 per hour or $7.95 for 24 hours.

The Unreliability and High Cost of Wi-Fi Takes its Toll

Unsurprisingly, the high cost of Wi-Fi is just one thing business travelers have to deal with. The mere fact that they have to pay for Wi-Fi services when they are on the road has a negative impact on their efficiency.

According to the survey, up to 70% of business travelers are regularly unable to work efficiently due to slow or unreliable connections. As many as 38% of survey respondents reported that they have been unable to join a work call or videoconference meeting. Another 17% reported that slow or unreliable connections caused them to miss a work deadline.

Additionally, one issue that is often overlooked is personal relationships. More than half (53%) of the survey respondents reported that not being able to contact friends and family has had a negative impact on their personal lives.

Business Travelers May Soon Have Access to Fast, Free, and Reliable Wi-Fi

Given the importance of access to Wi-Fi, Amba Hotels is championing fast, free, and reliable Wi-Fi in the hotel industry worldwide. The hotel chain points out that savvy business travelers are now considering Wi-Fi access one of the key criteria that influences where they choose to stay when traveling. Hotels that continue to charge high rates for slow and unreliable service stand to lose ground with business travelers in the coming years.

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Mr. Fellah, is a Senior Analyst and founder of Maravedis with 20-year experience in the wireless industry. He authored various landmark reports on Wi-Fi, LTE, 4G and technology trends in various industries including retail, restaurant and hospitality. He is regularly asked to speak at leading wireless and marketing events and to contribute to various influential portals and magazines such as RCR Wireless, 4G 360, Rethink Wireless, The Mobile Network, Telecom Reseller to name a few. He is a Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) and Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS).

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