The research polled 1,000 business travelers nationwide and was commissioned to mark this month's launch 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 48 percent of travelers in the U.S. as their biggest stress factor, ahead of noisy location (41 percent) and difficult transportation links (38 percent).
IHG set out to better understand hotel guests' priorities while traveling and is now the first and only hotel group to offer free Internet access globally to all its loyalty program members. This new benefit started with Elite members at the beginning of July and will roll out to all members starting in 2014, whether they are staying the night at one of IHG's nine hotel brands, or coming in for a coffee or impromptu meeting.
Other top-line findings in the U.S. underline the importance of Internet access:
62 percent of those surveyed said that Internet was the most important additional facility in their hotel room above a TV (20 percent); mini-fridge (5 percent), landline phone (4 percent), bath tub (3 percent) and mini bar (1 percent).
Logging onto the Internet in their room when they first arrive topped the list of things that help travelers feel most at home, while staying at a hotel (25 percent), above unpacking (20 percent), taking a shower (10 percent) or turning on the TV (6 percent)
More than half (55 percent) of travelers say that they would prefer to communicate with people back home over the Internet rather than using the phone.
Almost half of business travelers (47 percent) surveyed cited connecting with family at home as the best way to de-stress at the end of a working day.
83 percent said that free Internet would make them happier whilst travelling away for business.
And, more than two thirds of respondents, (69 percent), would be very unhappy traveling if they had no way of connecting with loved ones back home.
Relationship expert and Dating Doctor, David Coleman explains:
"Long distance relationships are difficult to successfully maintain. When we are separated from people we love or care for, we begin to physically miss their presence – their warmth, smile, touch, or facial expressions. Just hearing a voice on the phone is no longer sufficient for the modern business traveler, we need the comfort of being able to connect and see our loved ones. We need to be able to send an e-mail to our significant other to say we are thinking of them; be able to share a laugh with our children before they run off to school, and be able to stay connected to our friends back home. Being able to seamlessly and regularly connect with our loved ones is crucial, now more than ever, in maintaining strong remote relationships."
Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, IHG, said:
"We understand how important it is for our guests to be able to stay in touch whilst traveling. That's why, alongside great existing benefits such as points that never expire, we have introduced free Internet for our members as part of IHG Rewards Club. These leading benefits are why IHG Rewards Club has been chosen by more travelers than any other hotel loyalty program worldwide.
IHG's family of brands across 4,600 hotels ranges from an award-winning InterContinental® resort to a city-centre Holiday Inn hotel. Our scale and diversity means that our hotels can meet our guests' needs whatever the occasion – whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration or a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
IHG Rewards Club, formerly Priority Club® Rewards, is the world's first and largest hotel loyalty program with industry-leading benefits including no blackout dates for Reward Nights, fast track to Gold Elite status when guests explore IHG's family of nine trusted brands and points that never expire.
IHG 'Rewarding Relationships' survey carried out by OnePoll
All figures unless otherwise stated are from OnePoll.
10,000 adults were surveyed worldwide in Australia (1,000), Canada (1,000), China (1,000), France (1,000), Germany (1,000), Indonesia (300), Malaysia (400), Mexico (1,000), Russia (1,000), Singapore (300), UK (1,000) and US (1,000).
Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st May and 14thJune 2013.
The survey was carried out online.
The figures for each country have been weighted and are representative of adults who travel for business (aged 18+) in each country.
Full survey results are available on request.
The number one stress factor for travelers is not being able to contact home due to lack of Internet connection. Other options given were: not being able to connect home due to lack of Internet connection; rude staff; noisy guests or location; difficult transport links, limited food selection, none of the above.
New member benefits include:
Free Internet to all Elite members from July 2013 and extending to all members during 2014
The ability to earn Gold Elite status faster by staying for just 10 nights in three different IHG hotel brands
Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status
Platinum Elite members' "extra" nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year
Existing industry-leading benefits include:
Points that never expire
No blackout dates for Reward Nights, so members can stay any time
Faster rewards by using a combination of Points & Cash
Redeem points for flights on over 400 airlines with Flights AnywhereTM; for hotel stays virtually anywhere with Hotels Anywhere; or search, book and purchase car rentals with well-known local and global providers at airports worldwide with Cars Anywhere
Exclusive member-only, in-hotel perks
The IHG Rewards Club personal concierge can help guests find one-of-a-kind items, tickets to a sporting event or even favorite gadgets
Plus, earn points for everyday spending with our partners and while shopping and dining
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE: IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts.
IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world's first and largest hotel loyalty program with over 73 million members worldwide. The program was relaunched in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free Internet across all hotels, globally.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,600 hotels and more than 674,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.