There really is no place like home, unless it's a hotel which offers free internet connection according to new research from IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) which has found that being able to connect online with family and friends is now the top priority for travellers.
The global research was commissioned to mark the launch this month of IHG's renamed loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club. It reveals that not being able to contact home due to lack of internet connection is now the biggest travel headache for people away on business, cited by 40% of travellers as their biggest stress factor, ahead of difficult transport links (26%) and noisy location (24%).
The research covered 10,000 people who travel for business worldwide. It is helping IHG to understand hotel guests' priorities when travelling, as it becomes the first and only hotel group to offer free internet access globally to all its loyalty members. This new benefit started with Elite members at the beginning of July and will roll out to all members from 2014, whether they are staying the night at a hotel or coming in for a coffee or impromptu meeting.
Other findings underline the importance of internet access:
Relationship expert, Jenni Trent Hughes explains:
"Just hearing a voice on a telephone is no longer sufficient for the 21st century traveller, we need the comfort of being able to see loved ones too. We want to see our children's smiles when we're reading them their bedtime story over Skype; be able to look our partner in the eye when we tell them how much we miss them, as well as keep up with all our social media obligations and emails.
We now believe that when staying away from home, being connected with a minimum fuss and maximum ease is crucial for keeping our various relationships ticking over. When these expectations aren't met, we feel anxious and frustrated so it's no wonder that nowadays many of us can't relax until we are safely checked-in and logged-on."
Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, IHG, said:
"We understand how important it is for our guests to be able to stay in touch whilst travelling. That's why, alongside great existing benefits such as points that never expire, we have introduced free internet for our members as part of IHG Rewards Club. These leading benefits are why IHG Rewards Club has been chosen by more travellers than any other hotel loyalty programme worldwide.
IHG's family of brands across 4,600 hotels ranges from an award-winning InterContinental resort to a city-centre Holiday Inn hotel. Our scale and diversity means that our hotels can meet our guests' needs whatever the occasion - whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration or a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
IHG Rewards Club, formerly Priority Club® Rewards, is the world's first and largest hotel loyalty programme with industry-leading benefits including no blackout dates for Reward Nights, fast track to Gold Elite status when guests explore IHG's family of nine trusted brands and points that never expire.