LONDON—According to new research from IHG, 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 program, 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 offers 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.
Relationship expert, Jenni Trent Hughes, said, “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.”