Many business travellers believe that free hotel Wi-Fi is a divine right - traveller Dean Barrett blogs about it here. And many corporate travel managers would agree with them, investing valuable resources in negotiating free Wi-Fi during the RFP season, of which we are still in the midst.
But according to a Databank league table in Buying Business Travel magazine, it would be an understatement to say that all hotels are on their side. And what’s even more interesting is the huge discrepancies between countries throughout Europe when it comes to giving away the Holy Grail of business travel as part of the rack rate.
The following table shows the percentages of hotels offering free Wi-Fi in the best-served 20 countries in Europe. You’ll see that the UK comes in at a disappointing 14th place. Turkey, however, excels in its complimentary internet provision. The Mediterranean countries fare worst.
Why such discrepancies exist it’s hard to say. It could be telecoms costs, hotel rates or just the cultural norm. But what is useful about this league is the power it gives corporate travel managers when it comes to negotiating those add-ons during the RFP process. Such vital information about travel patterns can help them direct their resources more effectively when planning a global programme. This league shows, for example, that there is very little point demanding free Wi-Fi for travellers to Turkey, when nearly 85 per cent of hotels include it for free anyway. It may be wiser to ask, instead, for free parking, late checkout and early check in, free breakfast, gym passes or airport transfers?
So is free hotel Wi-Fi the divine right of all business travellers? Well Turkey seems to think so. And with a little strategic strong-arming from travel managers across Europe, hopefully it won’t be too long before the rest of the continent follows suit.
David Chapple is event director for the Business Travel Show, which is the leading conference and exhibition in Europe for the corporate travel market. www.businesstravelshow.com