ACCOR is planning to offer complimentary Internet access across all its hotel brands and properties in Asia-Pacific by the end of the year.
The move comes in response to the Accor Asia Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012, which found that free Internet connectivity had become a key influencer on business travellers' choice of hotel—with 49 per cent of respondents rating it among the most important factors.
Respondents from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand all rated free Internet as the primary factor affecting their choice of accommodation.
Although priorities among other markets deviate – with travellers from Australia and New Zealand prizing location, those from China prizing loyalty rewards, and those from India valuing price point – the decision-tipping clout that free Internet has suddenly accrued has prompted a swift reaction from Accor, especially since it did not even figure in last year’s report.
Given that 65 per cent of Accor’s occupancy in Asia-Pacific is driven by business travel, Evan Lewis, Accor’s vice president of communications Asia-Pacific, said: “It is clear that we must take a position on free Internet. By the end of the year, Internet will be free in all Accor hotels across the Asia Pacific region.”
"Hotels with incumbent supplier contracts for Internet provision will align on expiration of these contracts," he added.
Internet usage charges will not be completely abolished, however. Guests will be able to download emails and browse the web, but activities requiring extensive bandwidth – such as watching movies online – will incur a fee.