A comfy mattress and a hot breakfast are still important to hotel guests, but free wireless Internet access is the most desired amenity, according to a new survey of 53,000 travelers.
The survey by J.D. Power & Associates found that free Wi-Fi was the most important feature for guests in nearly every segment of the hotel industry.
The most expensive hotels were the least likely to offer free Wi-Fi.
Of guests staying at midscale hotels, 96 percent said they got free Wi-Fi, as did 64 percent of guests at budget hotels, according to the survey of guests who stayed in hotels from May 2009 to June 2010.
None said they got free Wi-Fi at luxury hotels.
Free Wi-Fi is available at many businesses.
At the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel chain, the fee for Wi-Fi access is a top complaint among guests, said spokeswoman Vivian A. Deuschl. (The new Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles charges $12.95 a day.) Some Ritz-Carlton hotels offer free Internet access in the lobbies and other public spaces. “We have no immediate plans to change the policy, but it’s an ongoing subject of discussion,” Deuschl said.