Wi-Fi influences hotel bookings as mobile dependency rises

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Free WiFi is a top priority for global travellers, who are increasingly dependent on mobile devices when they travel
Free WiFi is a top priority for global travellers, who are increasingly dependent on mobile devices when they travel

Related tags: Business travellers, Personal digital assistant

Over half of global travellers take availability and price of Wi-Fi into account when booking a hotel room, according to the latest Expedia/Egencia Mobile Index.

The index – a study of mobile-device-related behaviour and preferences among travellers around the world – revealed that Wi-Fi availability and pricing impacts the purchasing decision of 56 per cent of travellers.

When asked to rank mobile-related hotel amenities, both global and UK travellers put  ‘complimentary Wi-Fi’ ahead of high-speed Internet access, wired in-room connectivity and a business centre with computers and printers.

Business travellers deemed complimentary Wi-Fi even more important, with 86 per cent ranking it as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important when booking a hotel for business travel.

Mobile dependency

The study also revealed a ‘deep dependence’ on mobile devices, with 76 per cent of global travellers saying their smartphones are ‘very important’ to their daily lives, and 48 per cent saying the same about their tablet device.

Around 94 per cent of global leisure travellers and 97 per cent of global business travellers bring at least one mobile device with them when they travel. British business travellers are highly likely to take a smartphone on their travels (82 per cent), compared to only a relatively modest proportion (59 per cent) who take a laptop on business trips, lower than the average across all the markets surveyed.

Although laptops and desktop computers remain the most common devices for booking travel, 78 per cent of global business travellers have used their smartphone in a travel planning capacity, with 71 per cent using a tablet.

Travellers said they used their devices to manage itineraries, research destinations, book hotels, receive flight alerts and check in for flights, suggesting that they now view their mobiles as a 'travel concierge'.

In the UK, 90 per cent of travellers said they feel that new technology and mobile apps enhance their travel experience and one in ten have booked ground transportation or checked into a hotel room using their mobile device. Almost half of British travellers use using maps and navigation functions to find their way around during their holiday.

Over 27 per cent of Brits have used their smartphones to manage their itinerary for business, with 38 per cent regarding automatic itinerary updates as an essential function for a travel app. 

A new era

“We are entering a new era where people are move fluidly across desktop, phone, tablet, even wearables as they plan, book and then ultimately take their trip,” said Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia.co.uk.  

“Travellers are not only researching and booking trips on mobile, but they’re also complimenting their meals, and capturing every trip detail. This is the new normal when it comes to travel. We need to be able to develop relevant products to meet these needs and to offer a consistently high level of service as customers move from one device to another.”

“More people each day use their smartphones and tablets to help navigate their business trips,” added Graham Kingsmill, managing director of Egencia UK.

“We believe that mobile devices can do more for business travellers and we wanted to understand how. Checking in for a flight or refuelling the rental car before returning it can all be made easier with the right app. We have seen that many business travellers will use apps to book hotels at the last minute if these apps feature a great modern experience, and this makes their business travel more productive and cost-efficient.” 

Related topics: Business, Hotels, Trends & Reports

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