When you travel, what amenities and features are most important to you in the hotels where you stay?
The website Hotel.com did a survey of more than 8,600 travelers, people from the US and 27 other countries. So, let’s see how your needs and wants in a hotel rate with the survey answers, and with a local Atlanta expert, Joanne Quan, president of HCI Travel, a leading travel agency headquartered in Buckhead.
The world survey says many travelers’ top “needs” are free WIFI in their rooms and free breakfast. Is that typical of people traveling to and from metro Atlanta?
“Across the board they feel WIFI should be free,” Joanne says, “But it’s odd that, while limited-service hotels often offer free WIFI and free breakfast, some of the more deluxe hotels do not.”
Other survey results: Leisure travelers also love hotels with swimming pools and free parking. Business travelers tout hotels close to transportation and restaurants.
The most popular in-room amenity these days is a high-end coffee machine. In that spirit, perhaps, the survey shows travelers are demanding the same techno-gizmos that they have at home and easy access to places to plug-in. Don’t you just love having to move a king-size bed to reach an A/C outlet?
“Technology has changed everything, Joanne says. “With instant communications and virtually worldwide access to all kinds of information, business and leisure travelers are well informed and more demanding.
“They not only want the free WIFI at hotels but expect to stay connected anywhere. Hotels and resorts are aware that social media is the arena to watch carefully for consumer trends.”
I guess people just have to have one last Tweet before bedtime. Or making a few dozen more fake friends on Facebook before lights out.
The survey did not go into questions that interest many of Joanne Quan’s clients at HCI Travel here. For example, travel-associated fees and personal security while on the road.
“Women’s big ‘must have’ is security. For example, budget-minded travelers may find themselves booked at a hotel or motel with an outside entrance. We always make travelers aware if the hotel has an outside entrance, especially when it is a single female traveler.
“Many men are also uncomfortable with hotel rooms that have outside entrances.”
Joanne also says fees can annoy a lot of travelers who are caught by surprise.
“Resort fees are charged by hotels and resorts in vacation areas and can be from $20 a day and up. These fees are supposed to cover services like WIFI, beach chairs, pool attendants, and other amenities typical of vacation resorts.
“These resorts are already charging premium rates and it would make more sense to have one rate inclusive of all their services. Las Vegas is one popular travel destination that has resort fees.”
The Hotel.com survey noted that the things travelers want and hotels offer have changed over the years. Some road warriors expect rooms where all the electric stuff — TV, temperature, lights and such — can be operated with one hand-held remote. Fifteen percent of the people surveyed mention iPads and massage chairs in their want lists.
I’m guessing nobody surveyed said they really missed those “Magic Fingers” beds, the ones that would shake, rattle and roll as long as you kept feeding them quarters.
And who misses the motels so basic that the beds were soft but the sheets were hard?