If you're opening a mid-priced hotel in the U.S. Midwest, you better make sure your breakfast buffet is working before you begin to worry about that Wi-Fi connection.
Discussing the state of hotel Wi-Fi has become a trusted pastime among road warriors and travel experts. Last week alone we ran three stories about Wi-Fi and hotels. The general consensus is that we want it faster and we want it free.
But do we want it more than anything else?
We decided to ask more than a thousand people what they looked forward to most at hotels. Is it the Wi-Fi, or is it something you can really sink your teeth into?
We asked people “Which hotel feature do you most look forward to?” and gave them a choice of the five most common added features at hotels: Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, free parking, room upgrade, and fitness center.
Apparently our respondents were hungry. More than two out of five (42.4%) said that they most looked forward to free breakfast. Just over a quarter (28.1%) looked forward to free Wi-Fi. Parking, upgrades, and fitness facilities cumulatively added up to just a bit more than the Wi-Fi fans (29.6%).
This single-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from Oct. 22-24, 2013 through Google Consumer Surveys, with 1,001 responses. The methodology is explained here.
The headline takeaway: Feed people, then get them online.
The takeaway: Genders, even the unknown ones, are in general agreement on each selection.
The takeaway: Free breakfast consistently speaks across the economic spectrum. Also, the rich and the working poor hold free Wi-Fi in equal regard.
The takeaway: Rural guests care more than any others about free breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Urban and suburban guests are in agreement and support free parking than any other demo.
The takeaway: Respondents from the South care more than any other demo about free Wi-Fi.
The takeaway: The older you are, the more you care about free food, and the younger you are the more you care about free Wi-Fi.
The takeaway: The three demographics that scored above 50% were rural, Midwest, and between the ages of 55 and 64.
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Photo credit: A view of the breakfast buffet from the 7th floor of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Schaumburg, IL. pmschlenker / Flickr