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WiFi more important than swimming pool

As the number of holidaymakers with smartphones and tablets soars so too does the demand for a reliable internet connection.

No longer satisfied with visiting the local internet café to get their online fix, British travellers now expect hotels to provide WiFi – for free. In the past, the most wanted features would have been proximity to the beach, free sun beds, good evening entertainment or perhaps a variety of activities. However, a survey by Thistle Hotels found that when booking a holiday more than half are looking for free WiFi - while just 49% want a swimming pool and 37% require a television in the room.

This need to be ‘always on’ means that paying extra for WiFi is a now one of Brits’ top holiday hates. The survey of 2,000 holidaymakers found that paying for WiFi came third in the list with 38%. It was bettered only by more traditional traveller complaints: rude hotel staff (69%), rooms not being ready (45%). Although this modern complaint did come in front of a limited buffet or menu selection (37%) and not being as close to attractions as advertised (32%).

With more people taking expensive gadgets on holiday the right travel insurance policy is increasingly important. Top of the range smartphones and tablets can cost in excess of £400 or £500, so losing them would put a severe dent in holidaymakers’ wallets.

The survey also found that the typical British holidaymaker spends an hour a day online – either reading the news or catching up with friends and family back home. More surprisingly, one in 20 travellers admitted that they would rather spend their holiday time on the internet, than with their partners.

Mike DeNoma, CEO of Thistle Hotels group, commented on the rising demand for WiFi: “Our research shows that free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is very important to holidaymakers,” “They would rather have free internet than a swimming pool… which is an enormous change from 10 years ago,” he said.

Date Created: 11 February 2014

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