Hospitality venues are not placing enough importance on having a reliable WIFI network for guests, according to a new study by Netgear.
The research from the networking firm revealed how 76% of hospitality venues are convinced that service and facilities are far more important to customers than WIFI. The report revealed how 43 per cent believe customers think poor or non-existent wireless access is a price worth paying for the experience on offer at their establishment. However, the study shows how respondents disagree with the assumptions.
A third (33%) of leisure travellers say they would not return to a hotel that offered inadequate wireless access, and this grew to two-thirds (67%) of business guests.
The study also shows how guests on a leisure break are as concerned about losing contact with work (22% of professionals under 24) as they are about missing news from friends and social networks (29% of those under 24).
While 29% of venues agreed that a poor WIFI connection could lead to complaints from guests, 23% said it could lead to negative reviews and 37% thought it could mean the loss of repeat business.
Jonathan Hallatt, regional director at Netgear, said: 'Smaller hospitality and leisure venues must accept that for many people WIFI is now a basic need.'
'Wherever we are, we now immediately look for WIFI access so we can stay in touch with our online world,' he said. 'Failure to provide a reliable wireless network means customers will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return.'
He believes that the financial impact of this cannot be ignored as 'strong and consistent WIFI should be seen as a revenue generator, not a cost'.
'Consistency and quality are of equal importance,' he added. 'If something takes five minutes to download in the lobby, it should not take five hours back in your room.'
With new, high-performing solutions designed specifically for the needs of smaller firms, it has never been easier for hospitality and leisure venues to go wireless, he concluded.