Mobile and Wi-Fi dominated hotel technology news in 2013. Just last week, TripAdvisor unveiled the hotel amenities and services U.S. travelers find most and least important. No surprise here: free, in-room Wi-Fi ranked the highest. Earlier this year, enterprise mobile services provider iPass released a survey saying access to Wi-Fi in a hotel is as important as a comfortable bed. However, 81 percent have had unsatisfactory experiences with hotel Wi-Fi in the past year.
Even for luxury travel, Internet access is the hotel amenity prized above all by affluent U.S. travelers—more than the beach, cuisine, privacy, proximity to shopping and unique activities.
While free, reliable Wi-Fi was the most wished for item at hotels, it also dominated hotel guests' complaints in 2013. The quality of Internet service remains the top problem experienced by hotel guests, and it has the biggest impact on customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
Back in September, Expedia released a study highlighting what travelers think about spontaneous travel decisions. The study was conducted online among 2,000-plus U.S. adults who were asked about the last-minute trips they would like to take, and how mobile played a role in their trip planning.
As hoteliers had already learned, Hotels.com released another survey in October revealing mobile bookers are impulsive and short-term travelers. In November, a new study found online hotel bookers are young, wireless and not loyal. U.S. leisure travelers who book hotel rooms online are increasingly younger, armed with smartphones and tablets, and show less brand loyalty in their lodging choices, reports a new study conducted by Adara and Henry Harteveldt, Hudson Crossing travel industry analysts.
A June report from JiWire revealed that among mobile owners who booked travel in the past 90 days, 53 percent used a single device (smartphone, tablet, or laptop) to do so. The study indicates that mobile devices are heavily used for booking travel, with 52 percent claiming to have booked travel on a smartphone (23 percent) or tablet (29 percent) in the past 90 days. But mobiles are also being used for research, starting a cross-device journey that most often ends on laptops, but also does so on smartphones and tablets.
Convenient access to mobile content has become increasingly important to consumers booking hotels. According to a nationwide survey, 81 percent of travelers desire access to mobile video content at hotels, and 55 percent indicate the availability of mobile content influences their hotel or resort selection process.