Do you want hotel guests to book directly through your website? Give them the incentive of free high-speed wireless internet access.

A new study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation illustrates how important it is that travel brands integrate the latest technologies to provide the very best guest experience.

Whether it's their online or offline experience, guests expect things to be seamless, from booking their stay to checking out.

Travellers on-board with hotel apps

The GBTA Foundation, which is the GBTA's research wing, looked specifically at the performance of hotel apps, with 60% now found to an app for at least one of the seven major hotel chains in the world. More than half of those surveyed had at least two of the seven on their phone.

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Mobile apps give hotels the platform to enable mobile check-in, with a quarter of those surveyed by GBTA revealing that they used mobile check-in during their last business trip. This percentage is tempered by the fact that keyless entry systems are not yet universal in the industry.

Improving Wi-Fi should be the primary concern

Monica Sanchez, GBTA Foundation director of research, said "the interest is there" for hotels to expand the capabilities of their mobile app, but should be wary not to neglect improving existing amenities, such as Wi-Fi.

That comment appears to have been made with the following finding in mind: two-thirds of business travellers would change their booking practices and book directly through a hotel's app or website if it meant they could free high-speed wireless internet access in their room.

However, one in six respondents said that they were given such a perk for booking directly.

Travellers craving TV streaming services and personalisation

In addition to faster internet speeds, business travellers said they want features like in-room chargers for their devices and more electrical outlets and USB ports.

Meanwhile, younger business travellers want access to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant.

That might call for hotels to seek a partnership with streaming services, similar to the one between American low-cost airline JetBlue and Amazon Instant Video, which gives passengers in-flight access to the service.

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Speaking with our marketing hat on, a lead generating deal of this kind – i.e. getting guests to sign up for a trial of the service – could bring an extra income stream to the hospitality industry.

Whilst we're on marketing, high-frequency travellers highlighted the importance of being able to capture customer data en masse. They would like hotel chains to maintain a guest profile for them so that they can personalise their stay without having to make specific requests each time they check in.

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