Plugged-in hotels seen ringing in more guests: poll

Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:51am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Plugged-in hotels are likely to get the most guests checking in, with a global survey showing websites, and hi-tech facilities, are the top criteria travelers look for when picking a place to stay.

With 70 percent of travelers saying they would stay at a cheaper hotel due to the global economic slowdown, a Reuters Synovate survey of 6,300 people across 10 countries looked at how people choose their hotels and what features are important.

Nearly a third of guests said the number-one way they assess a hotel is via its website, followed by asking friends or colleagues, an approach particularly popular in Southeast Asia.

Some 17 percent, mainly Japanese, said they mainly use review websites, underscoring the importance of the Internet for the hospitality industry, global market researchers Synovate said.

"We see how vital an online presence is for hotels. Some of the larger hotel companies are now employing people to stay on top of important review sites. Even for smaller hotels, it cannot be ignored," Sheri Lambert, Synovate's U.S.-based senior vice president for Travel & Leisure research, said in a statement.

Nearly half those surveyed said they do a little research and a little comparison -- mainly online -- before making their choice, while one in 10 people said they pick the first hotel that comes across as "okay."

Overall, 47 percent of travelers make sure a hotel caters to their technology needs before they book it, the survey showed.

"It's now no longer an added feature to have wireless Internet in hotels. Travelers, whether for business or leisure, need to be connected," Lambert added.   Continued...