We may be living and travelling in the digital age but when it comes to getting online, it seems hotels are still being outdone by the local coffee shop.
A new study by JD Power reveals poor internet is still the biggest gripe among holidaymakers who stay at hotels.
While coffee shops are excelling in fast and free internet provision, many hotels are still charging for a service that often falls short of users' needs.
Internet usage during a hotel stay is actually increasing, but nearly a third of those surveyed (31%) said they had had an issue with their internet service, topping other complaints.
According to the study, both connection and speed were issues.
The findings suggest poor internet could even be enough to dampen the entire hotel stay experience, with the overall satisfaction among guests who experienced difficulties connecting to the internet being 133 points lower than those who never had any problems.
And it seems like putting in the extra time and effort to check reviews before booking with a hotel pays off, with the seven per cent who said they did this having a satisfaction rate 114 points above industry average.
"In many cases, hotel review sites play a key role in influencing guests to select one property over another, making them a powerful tool," said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at JD Power.
"Before these sites became mainstream, guests tended to choose a property based on price, previous experiences or location.
"But now, armed with so much more detailed information from fellow travellers, guests can make more informed choices that ultimately result in more realistic expectations about the property. This can go a long way toward satisfaction with their stay."
For hotel guests, JD Power offers the following tips:
- Make the hotel work for you. Contact the property ahead of time and ask for suggestions for things to do; have them book restaurant reservations; and get all the directions you need before you arrive.
- If you are a frequent guest of a particular hotel, know the name of the front office manager and communicate to them ahead of your arrival to ensure they are aware of your visit. Loyalty still goes a long way in the hotel business.
- If you have special requests, call the hotel directly, talk to the front office manager, or email them with your needs. They are usually willing to work with you when given ample time. Don't wait until you arrive to make complicated requests.
- Don't assume all hotels are alike. Take advantage of all the information available to make an informed choice. If you know what you are getting ahead of time, you are less likely to be disappointed with your stay.