According to an October 2011 TripAdvisor survey of 1,250 US travelers and 620 hotel owners and managers, 54% of travelers canceled reservations at a hotel because they found better amenities at a different property.

TripAdvisor asked survey participants to rank the top 5 most important hotel amenities. Here is what they found:

Most Important Hotel Amenities Travelers Hotel Owners & Managers
Wi-Fi Internet Access 85% 99%
Breakfast Included with Room 78% 79%
Guest Loyalty Points 72% 55%
Onsite Restaurant 71% 70%
Shuttle Service to Attractions and Airport 66% 41%

They also asked the travelers and hoteliers to rank the 5 least important amenities, which are listed below:

Least Important Hotel Amenities Travelers Hotel Owners & Managers
Turndown Service 87% 83%
Pets Allowed 85% 38%
Spa 79% 75%
Tours, Excursions, and Activities 76% 65%
Room Service 72% 49%

Hotel CEOs Weigh-In about Wi-Fi

In a recent USA TODAY article, J.W. Marriott, Jr., CEO of Marriott International, Richard Solomon, CEO of  InterContinental Hotels Group, and Eric Danziger, CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group were interviewed about Wi-Fi access and other technical issues facing their properties.

USA TODAY said Internet access is a top priority for travelers and bandwidth use is growing at a faster pace. What are you doing to respond?

Marriott stated, "We are working to try and get down to a few Internet suppliers because in the past, we had a bunch of suppliers, like 80 or 90. We have 3,700 hotels and everyone's hired their own supplier, so we are trying to narrow down the number so we can increase bandwidth and improve service. It's a huge problem. Everyone wants to download everything they can. It's getting to be quite a challenge."

"Wi-Fi speed is one of the biggest dissatisfiers that you see in a lot of hotels," said Solomon.

"You'd better have some dependability and relability because it will become the single source of complaints," said Danziger. 

All 3 CEOs agreed the increased use of iPads, Tablet PCs, and smartphones has had an impact on the network. 

So what are Meeting Planners to do with this information?

First, since Wi-Fi access is so important to attendees, having fast, robust, and secure Wi-Fi is going to make a huge difference with participant satisfaction. Utilizing AV Event Solutions' Wi-Fi checklist can help you determine whether the property can meet your needs or if you need to rent a wifi network array.  Remember, attendees will be dissatisfied if the Internet is slow or unavailable. 

Second, if you rent iPads, consider applications you will be preinstalling on the unit and the use of social media access, especially Twitter. Also, try and determine the number of smartphones and/or laptops attendees will be bringing to the conference. 

Third, if you are planning a large meeting at a convention center, make certain the Wi-Fi access at the hotel properties have the same level speed and security as the meeting facilities or convention center. Nothing will dissatisfy attendees more than to have great Internet access during the day and poor access at night. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment supplier, can provide your next meeting with 1st and 2nd generation iPads, Wi-Fi Boosters, and other state-of-the-art audiovisual or computer equipment rentals to meet your meeting needs. Contact them today for more information!