Survey reveals Brits’ most popular holiday pastimes, pet peeves

British travellers are becoming increasingly reliant on smart-phones and tablets while on a holiday, and paying extra for Wi-Fi is now one of the top ‘holiday hates,’ according to a survey.

The poll by Thistle Hotels, a part of glh, an owner-operator hotel company in London with over 4,000 hotel rooms, questioned 2,000 people to understand their holiday habits and interests.

According to the survey, an average holidaymaker spends an hour online each day of their holiday, catching up with friends and current affairs. Nearly one in 20 admitted they would rather spend time online, than with their partners on holiday. Consequently, having to pay for Wi-Fi now ranks alongside traditional holiday annoyances, such as rude hotel staff and rooms not being ready on arrival.

The research, undertaken to launch Thistle’s new faster, free internet in all its UK hotels, revealed that the top five ‘holiday hates’ are, rude hotel staff (69 percent), rooms not being ready (45 percent), paying for Wi-Fi (38 percent), limited buffet/menu selection (37 percent), and not being as close to holiday attractions as advertised (32 percent).

The survey also found that while booking a holiday, fast, free and reliable Wi-Fi is more important (51 percent), than having a swimming pool (49 percent), or even having a TV in the room (37 percent).

Mike DeNoma, glh. CEO said; ‘It’s crazy to think that in 2014 hotel chains are still charging up to £20 a day for Wi-Fi. Our research shows that free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is very important to holidaymakers, which is why we’ve partnered with BT Wi-fi to upgrade our existing free internet access. No registrations, no limitations and no fine print, customers can now simply click and connect without fuss or fee; and most importantly they do not have to sign up to memberships or earn loyalty points.’

Of the main hotel brands in the UK, the Hilton Hotel group charges between £14 and £20 a day for WiFi, Premiere Inn charges £3 a day, or £10 a week, but does offer an initial 30 minutes of free WiFi; IHG charges £14 a day across its leading brands. It also charges £3 a day or £13 a day at ‘Crown Plaza’.

Marriott offers free WiFi in its reception areas, but charge £15 a day for access in rooms across its major brands and £4.95 an hour, or £12.99 a day, at Marriott Courtyard. Marriott Gold and Platinum members receive free WiFi throughout premises and access is limited to six devices. Free internet is also included in Premium rooms and suites. Travelodge charges £5 an hour, £10 a day, £20 a week, or £30 a month for WiFi access.

Accor to Offer Complimentary Wi-Fi at Hotels

Visitors to Accor properties in the UK will now be able to surf the Internet for free, as the France-based hotel group is planning to scrap Wi-Fi charges at 500 of its properties worldwide.

The hotel company owns the Ibis, Mercure, Sofitel and Novotel hotel brands, and has opted for free Wi-Fi after a recent survey concluded that travellers decide on hotel room bookings based on availability of complimentary Wi-Fi services.

A survey conducted in January 2012 by Hotels.com, a US-based travel company and a part of the Expedia group, suggested that travellers voted for complimentary Wi-Fi as the hotel amenity that they most searched for, when asked to comment on their favourite in-room and hotel amenities.

While 38 percent of the respondents to the survey voted in favour of complimentary Wi-Fi being the amenity to decide their hotel stay, 35 percent reported complimentary Wi-Fi as an amenity that they wished was more available in hotels.

Taylor L Cole, APR, the director of public relations and social media for Hoetls.com, explained, ‘Given the explosion of mobile use in the past few years, it is no surprise that travellers are requiring free and fast Wi-Fi. Many guests never travel without their tablets, smart phones and laptops. It’s as intuitive as packing a toothbrush. Guests use these items in their rooms to plan activities for the next day.

We are also seeing an uptick in mobile booking the day of a stay. Guests are creating their trips while on-the-go with Tonight’s Local Deals on our site and the hotels.com mobile apps, which feature exclusive mobile deals – it is only natural that they’d want to stay connected while in their hotel rooms.’