Free Wi-Fi and breakfast in hotels: business travellers' top priorities

By John Walton, January 24 2011
Free Wi-Fi and breakfast in hotels: business travellers' top priorities

Don't care about getting a free newspaper outside your hotel room door? Would you rather have free Wi-Fi? Most business travellers agree with you.

Business travel specialist Corporate Traveller asked business travellers to rank six hotel services they thought should be free. The results won't surprise frequent travellers, but might be food for thought at some hotels where rates don't include travellers' priorities.

For business travellers, free Wi-Fi was most important, followed by a decent complimentary breakfast. Here's the full list of their priorities for free services that hotels should offer:

  1. Wi-Fi
  2. Breakfast
  3. Early check-in and late check-out
  4. Parking
  5. Access to corporate facilities
  6. Newspapers 

Business travellers often have a choice of several similar hotels that are convenient for their destinations, so the free add-ons that save them time, effort and money are frequently the deciding factor.

Australian Business Traveller spoke to Corporate Traveller's Chris Preston, and asked him whether he was surprised that Wi-Fi had scored so highly among business travellers.

"No, I wasn't, because I think that Wi-Fi is just such a critical component of any business traveller's arsenal of tools. You've been on the road, you've done a day of meetings, you're back to the hotel. You need to be able to log on, deal with your backlog of emails, touch base at home... it's an absolute key."

With more business travellers carrying BlackBerrys, iPads, iPhones and other devices along with their work-issued laptop, Preston is unsurprised that Wi-Fi access is so important.

“Access to the internet is an important amenity for travellers that need to stay in touch while they’re on the go and hotels that include Wi-Fi as a complimentary service are an appealing choice for corporates looking for the best deal for their hotel spend.”

He also noted that free breakfast coming ahead of early check-in was interesting, given the increasing availability of chain coffee shops near business hotels.

"If you can just wander downstairs from your hotel room, you know where you're having breakfast, you know it's included, you don't have to think about it."

But at the end of the day, corporate travel policies and business travellers still remain focussed on the bottom line.

"Your price and convenience factor from a location perspective are always going to be your number one and two points of consideration when it comes to selecting the property you're going to choose," Preston concludes.

What do you think is the most important amenity for business travellers? Is Wi-Fi even optional for you any more? Let us know in the comments box below.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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