Free internet a priority for hotel owners - survey

Guest Writer

The vast majority of hotel owners are planning to offer free in-room internet in 2011, a recent survey has found. According to TripAdvisor’s first ever Accommodation Owners Survey, 91% of owners said they intend to offer the complimentary service this year, compared to just 5% who said they would offer it for a fee, and 4% who said they had no plans to offer in-room internet access.

The survey interviewed 1,000 accommodation owners in the US. While the results may be more reflective of the US economic situation (51% of respondents didn’t expect rates to rise in 2011 - a figure is unlikely to be replicated in Asia), the survey does provide an interesting insight into the mindset of hotel owners.

For example, despite the seemingly strong movement toward mobile technology, such developments didn’t feature especially highly on the owners’ priority list. When asked whether they intended to increase their mobile marketing activities in 2011, only 27% said that said they plan to engage with their customers via their mobile devices for the first time. A further 27% said they would continue the mobile efforts started in previous years, while a strong 46% said they had no plans to conduct any mobile marketing activities.

Discounting rates was still seen as the best way to attract guests. Sixty-one percent of owners surveyed said they planned to use room rate discounts to boost occupancy, while 36% said they would provide added value with ‘special amenities’. A further 29% cited the use of reward points. Encouragingly, 70% of owners said they planned to adopt schemes to reduce their impact on the environment.

Commenting on the results, TripAdvisor’s President for Business, Christine Petersen, said; “Savvy hoteliers are attempting to stand apart from the crowd by embracing social media, launching mobile marketing features and offering the programmes consumers demand most.”

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