Survey: Travelers Demand Free Hotel Wi-Fi, Complimentary Food and Beverages

Before they choose the hotel for their next meeting, meeting planners should consider the results of a new hotel amenities survey conducted by Hotels.com, the results of which were released last week.

According to the survey, which polled travelers about their favorite hotel perks, free Wi-Fi plays prominently in the decision to book one hotel over another, with 38 percent of travelers saying that free Wi-Fi is a "must," 35 percent that they want to see it more in hotels and 31 percent that they wish it would become standard in all hotels.

"Given the explosion of mobile use in the past few years, it is no surprise that travelers are requiring free and fast Wi-Fi," said Taylor L. Cole, director of public relations and social media for Hotels.com. "Many guests never travel without their tablets, smartphones and laptops. It's as intuitive as packing a toothbrush. Guests use these items in their rooms to plan activities for the next day. We are also seeing an uptick in mobile booking the day of a stay … it is only natural that they'd want to stay connected while in their hotel rooms."

Other findings, according to Hotels.com:

• Twenty-three percent of guests said their favorite modern in-room amenity is the use of iPads for guest services, local information and personal use. This ranked above air purifiers/humidifiers, high-end coffee makers, iPod docks, massage chairs, video game systems, universal remote rooms and workout equipment/DVDs.

• Forty-five percent of guests said their favorite new amenities are: happy hours, wine tastings or any other time with free food and drinks.

• Thirty-one percent of travelers expressed a wish to see more complimentary bottled water in their hotel rooms.

• A majority of travelers (44 percent of females and 30 percent of males) said extra luxuries like turndown service and bath menus are "not worth the hype."

• Bathroom phones are the least used hotel amenity, with 37 percent of total respondents saying they never touch it.

• When it comes to amenities at luxury hotels, women prefer designer toiletries (23 percent) and men the fitness center and spa (27 percent).

• When asked if they could stay "celebrity-style," both men (35 percent) and women (38 percent) said their top amenity would be a kitchen that's pre-stocked with their favorite foods and beverages. A close second, however, was the ability to have a private pool and hot tub in the room (37 percent of women and 34 percent of men). Less popular were over-the-top in-room demands like: an arcade, favorite fresh flowers everywhere, private staff or a movie screening room.