Accor UK hotels get free Wi-Fi [victory for the traveller!]

accor-sa-logoJust the kind of news I like to see hitting my inbox, after all, you know how much I hate paying for Wi-Fi in hotels.  Accor, the name behind brands such as Ibis, Mercure and Novotel, have announced that they are to offer free Wi-Fi across 194 properties in the UK.

Accor will be officially rolling out free Wi-Fi in all Ibis budget, Ibis, Ibis Styles, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman and MGallery hotels in the UK, most importantly incorporating all bedrooms and public areas.  When I saw the announcement I did wonder if it would include bedrooms (as so many chains have led with similar PR exercises, but only provided coverage in reception) so this is good to see.

The service will provide visitors at Accor hotels, including 59 Ibis hotels, 76 Mercure hotels and 31 Novotel branded hotels, with access to free, high quality Wi-Fi throughout their stay, with many hotels offering the fibre optic Wi-Fi to guarantee the best possible service.  Guests will be able to access free Wi-Fi in bedrooms, meeting rooms and all public areas of the hotel.

Accor go on to say that this initiative is in-line with their wider commitment to emphasising guest satisfaction for both business and leisure customers and follows industry research from the BDRC highlighting the significance of free Wi-Fi for hotel guests (they could have just asked me).  Recent figures revealed that free Wi-Fi throughout hotels is the most important factor for business travellers when choosing where to stay. Demand for high quality, free Wi-Fi has been boosted in recent years by the increased use of connected devices such as tablets.

Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director of Accor UK & Ireland explains, “Free Wi-Fi has become the norm at many coffee houses or bars but in the past with hotel groups it can vary from property to property, and differ between the public areas to bedrooms. We recognise that guests expect to have free Wi-Fi wherever they are in the hotel and for it to be a quick, high quality connection.

This is why we invested across all our brands in the UK in super, fibre-optic Wi-Fi so that guests can use smartphones, tablets, laptops – whatever technology device – at ease, anywhere in the hotel and for no charge.”

Now the small print (but in line with what you’d expect) – the hotels will offer free Wi-Fi to 512k, which allows guest to browse the Internet and check emails at an efficient speed.  Premium high speed Wi-Fi is available to buy in many properties using fibre optic Internet, ideal for data streaming.

Will the other global chains now follow suit?

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A mobile notification I really didn’t mind seeing, thanks NH Hoteles!

I don’t need words to describe this – other than to say that I got the following pop-up notification on my mobile earlier today – what a great way to notify your customers of a new policy – I don’t know of any other hotel chain that’s done this. And well done NH Hoteles – the free wi-fi message is being heard – great work guys!

Super creative Room 77 launch free Wi-Fi summer [Hotel Insight editor falls in love]

As regular readers of my blog will know, I love to see companies in the hotel industry innovating and bringing something new to online technologies and search.  I also have a real pain point of hotel Wi-Fi charges.  I talk (some would say, moan) about this a lot, and it’s certainly a topic that will not go away and makes travellers frustrated.  So when I saw that the creative team at Room 77 had launched a free Wi-Fi campaign, my heart melted ever so slightly and I had to write a quick post to share it with you.

Quite simply, once you’ve booked your hotel stay through the Room 77 website users can log in with their account details and submit a rebate request for their Wi-Fi charges.  What intrigued me was how an OTA, who doesn’t own the hotels they are selling, or control a local Wi-Fi charge was going to pull this off and why they would do it.  But it’s actually quite a simple process and quite simply, Room 77 are doing this because they truly understand what a traveller wants from a hotel stay, and the pain points for booking that stay and the threat to their enjoyment once they’ve checked in.  Charges for Wi-Fi in hotels will remain a hot topic for travellers, so Room 77 have listened and acted.

Examine your customers pain points.  What is it about a hotel stay they most annoyed them.  In your top three answers, paying for Wi-Fi is one of them, making such a promotion is engaging and of immediate interest to Room 77’s clients – promotions like this bread loyalty.

For those who are yet to discover Room 77, you can take a look at my recent post on this super initiative company by clicking here.  Room 77 are literally taking B2C hotel search to another level with their technology and shopping approach – take a look at their site and you’ll see what I mean.  This promotion is another simply example of actually understanding your customers needs.  Design a website that the user will want to be on – making booking a hotel fun and taking the hassle (and often boredom away), then take it a stage further and target them with something dear to their hearts.  This simple recipe will end in success.