Intercontinental Hotels Group, which owns several hotel brands including Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza has announced the introduction of free WiFi internet access for its 71 million loyalty scheme members’ worldwide.

CEO Richard Solomons said “ We’ve done a survey that showed 43% of guests say they won’t stay in a hotel if it doesn’t offer free WiFi, so we know it’s an issue and we know it for ourselves”

InterContinental has recognised that although the change will result in a lost revenue stream, an increase in occupancy levels will more than outweigh this cost. “Being able to offer something consistently across the world actually means that we’ll be able to attract more guests. We absolutely see a net revenue upside from this.” Solomons said.

IHG is the first global hotel chain to offer free WiFi to all loyalty members across the world. Other chains do offer this, but only to elite members.

Survey results

The scheme will be launched in July, in response to a survey carried out by the group which had the following findings:

• Forty-three percent of respondents said they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for Internet.

• Twenty-three percent said that free Internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to seven percent who chose room service.

• Travellers from the UK (18 percent) and the U.S. (14 percent) both listed paying for Internet as the second most annoying thing when staying at a hotel after noisy guests (22 percent and 24 percent respectively).