Wi-Fi in the Travel Industry
Nearly 3 in 4 Americans say hotels and Airbnbs need to provide fast Wi-Fi for their customers
This summer is poised to be one of the most popular travel seasons in recent memory with The Vacationer reporting nearly 85% of Americans plan to travel this summer. With nearly 42% of Americans traveling more than last year, it’s likely that travelers will come up against some of the more frustrating experiences when traveling through airports, airplanes, hotels, and Airbnbs: slow Wi-Fi connections.
We surveyed 1,000 Americans about the Wi-Fi they want from airlines and accommodations while traveling. Nearly three-quarters of respondents told us that airports, hotels, and Airbnbs need to provide fast Wi-Fi for their visitors.
So, is the Wi-Fi on your travels up to snuff? Check it with our speed test app.
The high-speed facts
- Over two-thirds of Americans cite fast Wi-Fi as a must-have when deciding on travel plans.
- 70% of Americans say they’ve rarely or never paid for Wi-Fi access or upgrades while traveling.
- 40% of respondents say in-flight Wi-Fi speed is important when deciding which airline to use.
- 67% of Americans say that internet speed is usually or almost always important when booking a vacation rental, up 3% from 2022.
- If Americans were staying at a hotel that didn’t offer free Wi-Fi, 30% say they would be very unlikely to pay for it.
- HighSpeedInternet.com can help Airbnb owners verify and advertise their Wi-Fi speed to potential customers.
How important is fast Wi-Fi for travelers?
Over half of Americans cite fast Wi-Fi, in various forms, as essential for their travels. Most important for many travelers is Wi-Fi at airports.
- 74% of Americans say airports need to provide fast Wi-Fi for their visitors.
- And for travelers who eat in the airport too, 61% say that choosing a restaurant with fast Wi-Fi is usually or almost always important.
While many airports have free Wi-Fi, a 2022 report from Ookla found that seven U.S. airports ranked in the top ten for fastest Wi-Fi globally.
- The U.S. list includes San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Chicago O’Hare.
- And if you’re a frequent flier, then you’re in luck: Airport lounges tend to have faster Wi-Fi than the free version for the general airport.
Still, the Wi-Fi needs extend beyond the airports. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say that hotels and Airbnbs need to provide fast Wi-Fi for their customers.
- And when deciding where to stay, two-thirds of respondents (67%) say that internet speed is usually or almost always important.
Fast vs. free—which is better?
People love free, and Americans believe Wi-Fi while traveling should be free. So much so that 70% of Americans said they don’t pay for Wi-Fi access or upgrades when offered.
- 70% of respondents say they rarely or never pay for Wi-Fi access or upgrades at a hotel.
- Nearly 70% of respondents say they rarely or never pay for in-flight Wi-Fi access or upgrades.
While Americans want Wi-Fi access wherever they go, many believe that it should be included as part of the cost for reserving a hotel or airline ticket.
Fliers want fast, free in-flight Wi-Fi
We already know that Americans aren’t likely to pay for Wi-Fi access or upgrades when traveling, so what do they think should be provided free of charge during a trip? Well, over half of respondents (53%) say that airlines need to provide fast in-flight Wi-Fi for their customers.
Still, it’s not uncommon for travelers to use free public Wi-Fi when traveling—even though that can sometimes leave your device vulnerable. In fact, we found that in 2022, 80% of Americans are concerned about online safety when using public Wi-Fi.
- Now we’re not saying that public Wi-Fi is dangerous, just that you need to take extra precautions when logging on to protect your device and data.
- Four in 10 Americans say they commonly use public Wi-Fi when traveling, too.
And when deciding what airline to use, 40% of respondents say in-flight Wi-Fi speed is usually or almost always important when making a decision.
For any airline execs out there: Take note of this request from travelers and consider applying for the HighSpeedInternet.com Speed Test Badge to prove your Wi-Fi’s power and strength to potential fliers.
Americans care about internet when booking travel
Feelings about the internet haven’t changed much since last year when we last asked Americans about their travel Wi-Fi habits. The biggest difference? More people are considering internet speed than before, which means publicizing your speed test results could lead to more bookings.
So, how do Americans feel about internet speed when booking a hotel or Airbnb? It’s quite important.
- In 2022: 64% consider internet speed when booking a vacation stay.
In 2023: 67% of Americans say that internet speed is usually or almost always important when deciding on a hotel
Why should travel-related businesses offer fast, free Wi-Fi?
Americans want fast, free Wi-Fi or they’re less likely to visit a business whether it’s in their everyday life or while traveling. We looked at everyday Wi-Fi usage earlier and many of the data points actually align with traveling too.
Just like with traveling on an airplane or to an Airbnb, nearly half of Americans say they’d be less likely to go to a business if they didn’t offer free Wi-Fi.
- If the Wi-Fi was too slow, 39% of consumers say they would most likely not go back to the business.
- A quarter of Americans would only return if the internet speed had improved.
And if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well, leaving a review of talking to the owner can help. In fact, nearly 20% of Americans say they’ve left a review for a business that mentioned Wi-Fi. Out of those, 12% were negative reviews.
- Nearly one-third of respondents say they look at reviews frequently or almost every time before going to a business.
And if a hotel or airline didn’t provide Wi-Fi, nearly a third of respondents say they would be very unlikely to pay for it. Fast, free, and reliable Wi-Fi when traveling is a must for Americans.
Read on to learn how your business can qualify for the official badge that tells customers your business has fast and reliable Wi-Fi and is HighSpeedInternet approved.
Speed test app solves your worries
If you aren’t getting the Wi-Fi speeds that you were promised, download our app and take the speed test while connected to the Wi-Fi. That way you’ll be able to see the internet speed you’re receiving and check back to see if the speed matches what you were promised during your reservation.
If it’s not, take a screenshot, show it to an employee, Airbnb owner, or customer service rep, and ask for some sort of refund.
- In fact, we at HighSpeedInternet.com asked for a refund on a flight after paying for a Wi-Fi upgrade and the airline gave us a refund.
- So, the Speed Test app really does work!
Get the badge!
Want to prove to customers that your Airbnb offers the fastest Wi-Fi for travelers? Take the HighSpeedInternet speed test. And if your Wi-Fi is truly fast, you’ll get a special badge for your business.
How? Simply take a screenshot of your speed test results, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you your badge.
- The badge is downloadable and available to put on your website, Google page, and reviews—you can even print it out and tape it to your business’s front door.
As more Americans look for fast Wi-Fi when they travel, you’ll stand out from the crowd with the exclusive badge from HighSpeedInternet.com.
HighSpeedInternet.com surveyed 1,000 Americans age 18+ in April 2023 using the online survey platform PollFish. The results shown above are post-stratified. Post-stratification weighting method is a way to achieve a distribution equal to that of such known characteristics of the population. In this case, it was applied to age and gender.
If you have questions about the survey, methodology, or this report’s data, you can email them to email@example.com.
Author - Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on Business.org, Reviews.org, WhistleOut.com, SatelliteInternet.com, and CableTV.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.