Free breakfast tops choice for hotel guests, survey finds

Complimentary breakfasts seem to come first when global travellers choose their ideal hotel amenities today.

Respondents to a survey by Hotels.com pushed the morning meal past last year’s No.1, free WiFi.

The survey was conducted last December among 1,000 travellers who were planning trips in the first half of 2014, but it was released only this week.

Last year’s victor, free WiFi, was knocked to third position, the hotel room booking website said.

When customers were asked to rank 33 different amenities, a free breakfast was the first choice among travellers, followed by an accessible restaurant.

Next in the top-10 amenities for the ideal hotel were parking, smoke-free areas and coffee and tea available in the lobby upon arrival.

At the other end of the scale, the least important for travellers included child-friendly amenities, pet-friendly services and hair salons.

Conference centres and meeting rooms were also deemed to be one of the least-important amenities even though more than a third of respondents (35%) were business travellers.

When asked for the most important amenity found inside the hotel room, free WiFi came out on top, followed by a bathroom with a shower and room size, while child care in the room was voted the least important.

“Travellers seem to have become fixated on where their next meal is coming from, and this is highlighted in the findings,’’ said Alison Couper, senior director for global communications at Hotels.com, which is owned by Expedia Inc in Bellevue, Washington.

“With the ever-increasing importance of technology, it’s surprising to see free WiFi has fallen from the top spot in the overall hotel amenities list, though it is still the most important for those when they are actually inside their hotel room, showing that keeping in contact while away remains a priority.”

Hotels.com is a popular online accommodation booking website covering more than 260,000 properties around the world.

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