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UK Hotels Still Think Poor WiFi Access is a Price Worth Paying

Monday, July 7th, 2014 (10:57 am) - Score 1,133

A new study commissioned by NETGEAR has surveyed 150 small and medium-sized hospitality and leisure venues across the UK, including 2,042 adults, to discover that 43% of hotels, B&Bs and theme parks etc. still think poor or non-existent WiFi Internet access is a price worth paying for a better experience in other areas. Most customers understandably disagreed.

Many hotels clearly believe it’s better to spend money in other areas than to deploy a good WiFi service, although 33% of “leisure travellers” said they wouldn’t return to a venue again if they found the wireless access to be inadequate and this reached a staggering 67% for business guests. Many guests saw the service is important for keeping up with both work and the social network activity of their friends or family.

However 29% of hospitality venues agreed that poor WiFi could result in guests complaining, while 23% feared it could result in a bad online review and 37% appreciated that there was a future potential for lost business. So clearly there is some appreciation of the concern.

Jonathan Hallatt, NetGear’s Regional UK Director, said:

Smaller hospitality and leisure venues must accept that for many people Wi-Fi is now a basic need. Wherever we are, whether it’s for work or pleasure, we immediately look for Wi-Fi access so we can stay in touch with our online world. People expect to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to connect, not to have that decision made for them.

Failure to provide a reliable wireless network means customers will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return. The financial impact of this cannot be ignored. Strong and consistent Wi-Fi should be seen as a revenue generator, not a cost.”

We suspect that problems like this are likely to be especially tricky for hotels situated in remote rural locations, where good fixed line broadband and mobile connectivity is not available to feed the wifi service. By comparison guests staying in other areas may at least be able to fall back on their Mobile Broadband service, which is likely to become more common as coverage and performance improves.

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar BTi Darius says:

    Hotel internet is pretty much universally shocking and the prices they charge make it all the worse.

  2. Avatar DTMark says:

    Has anyone ever had to pay to use the Wi-Fi? It has always been free wherever I have stayed.

    That said, as the article suggests, it’s just a shared ADSL connection and no faster than, indeed often slower than, 3G.

  3. Avatar Ethel Prunehat says:

    To answer both the above: IME, the larger and more expensive the hotel, the more likely it is that you’ll have to pay – through the nose – for wifi.

    I travel on business at least once a month, and it’s got to the point now where I’d rather stay in a little B&B than a chain hotel as I know that I’ll get wifi and breakfast included in the price [note to Travelodge: vending machine with a microwave next to it doesn’t count].

    Given the slowly decreasing price and increasing capability of mobile data, this situation can’t last.

  4. Avatar Tomo says:

    The hotels I’ve stayed at have offered 15 mins free per day, which is absolutely useless, and then charge stupid amounts for all day access. I’ve seen charges of £20 a day to use a very poor WiFi service.

  5. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

    I’ve had mixed experiences, some charge and others don’t, which is more common when aboard than in the UK but I do now try to pick rooms that include “free” wifi whenever possible. But like Ethel said, it seems more common to charge when you stay in one of the big chains and the flaky quality doesn’t really warrant it.

  6. Avatar Roger Baines says:

    I chose a B/B or hotel with a good WiFi but have a Three account which
    is a back up simple plan. So far Three has worked in many overseas

    Come on UK hotels wake up to what the customers need/want

  7. Avatar FTTH says:

    The last Nextgen (wembley) I ended up walking away from the Hotel with a BT WIFI subscription. It was the Hilton I think.

    Now I have a 3G Access point I carry around.
    (Superb Data Tarrif PAYG from GiffGaff).

    Internationally I have found WIFI is generally Free or Very cheap.

  8. Avatar dragoneast says:

    As with all commerce surely they’ll charge what they can get away with. Who worries about the bill on their expense account anyway? “Use it or loose it”, they say.

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