This week we’re taking a closer look at the marketing around free Wi-Fi.

Increasingly regarded by many travelers as a necessity and basic right, it’s become a basic cost of doing business for hotels, airlines, restaurants and tour companies everywhere. Yet an interesting pushback against the trend is playing out among some high-end resorts, with some properties starting to advertise their lack of connectivity as a selling point for travelers looking to unplug. Will this unique (and potentially risky) tactic help these hotels stand out from the crowd?

Read on below for more.

Luxury Travel Brands Market “Disconnection” as Newest Upscale Amenity
Better Wi-Fi is often at the top travelers’ must-have lists, but according to some luxury tour and resort operators, having no connection at all is increasingly a selling point in the right context. Rather than being a downside, many luxury resort owners are promoting their property’s limited or non-existent Internet access as a benefit to stressed-out, overworked guests. Though this trend towards more disconnection is mostly a positive one, travel marketers need to be careful about how to position the concept to guests and avoid misunderstandings. Read more

Using SMS Campaigns to Improve Hotel Guest Engagement
Mobile messaging is experiencing a renaissance at the moment, as travel marketers look to platforms like Facebook Messenger and China’s WeChat as the newest potential channels for customer engagement, service and sales. It’s not just messaging apps that are getting attention however. As hotel technology firm Alice points out, SMS text messages are another great vehicle to improve guest relations and provide customer service. Read more

Travelers’ Prefer Mobile-Web Over Mobile-Apps for Purchases in New Study
The never-ending debate over the popularity of mobile web vs. mobile apps for traveler purchases (and travel marketing budgets) continues to rage on. This week’s latest salvo is a new study from Millward Brown Digital, which claims that travelers prefer mobile web to apps for making purchases, at least when it comes to buying hotel rooms. Increasingly any travel brand considering a mobile strategy needs to consider having both a mobile-friendly website and an app, as each channel appeals to different types of travelers. Read more

Paid Social Media Seeing Increased Investment by Marketers
As is typical with any new ad format, travel marketers were initially reluctant to invest significant budgets in paid social media advertising. Questions about the format’s effectiveness were often a key reason behind that skepticism. According to a new study, however, that reluctance seems to be evaporating. A recent survey found that 54% of marketers felt better about investing in the format than they did a year ago. What’s more, around a quarter of the survey’s respondents worked for brands with annual budgets of a half-million dollars or more per year. Read more

Airbnb Rolls Out New Features to Appeal to Business Travel Market
While Airbnb was once seen by the hospitality industry as a service appealing mostly to leisure travelers, the company continues to make inroads with the lucrative business travel market. This week Airbnb further expanded its features to appeal to the corporate travel set, adding a special “badge” for hosts to promote “business-travel friendly” properties that include amenities like guaranteed Wi-Fi, designated workspaces, an iron and hair dryer and more strict cancellation policies.  Read more

Virgin Atlantic, Microsoft Create Virtual Flight Experience for Travelers
Carrier Virgin Atlantic continues to experiment with new ways to use technology to try and improve passenger service and up-sell ancillary services. Just last year the company tested a pilot program using Google Glass with its airport “concierge” agents. This week, the company is teaming with Microsoft on an experience that gives customers a virtual tour inside the airline’s Upper Class lounges, seating and premium flight amenities. While more travel brands appear to be experimenting with virtual reality marketing programs, it remains to be seen if the experience will add value for Virgin passengers or simply serve as a nifty PR effort. Read more

Photo Credit: More luxury resorts are promoting their lack of internet access as a selling point for travelers looking to relax and unplug. Will the tactic win favor or backfire? Flickr