IHG chief executive Richard Solomons. IHG chief executive Richard Solomons.

A global poll of 10,000 worldwide business travellers conducted on behalf of the Intercontinental Hotel Group has revealed the importance of a free internet connection to hotel guests.

More than 60 percent of the people questioned by the global survey said the internet was the most important additional facility in their hotel room, above TV (17 percent), a bath (5 percent), a fridge (3 percent) and a mini bar (1 percent).

The global research was commissioned to mark the launch later this month of IHG’s renamed loyalty programme, The IHG Rewards Club, which will to offer free guest WiFi to every member.

IHG chief executive Richard Solomons said: “We understand how important it is for our guests to be able to stay in touch whilst travelling. 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 travellers than any other hotel loyalty programme worldwide.”

Nearly 90 percent of the polled travellers said free internet would make them happier while travelling for business, while 65 percent would be “very unhappy” if they had no way of connecting with loved ones back home. Around 64 percent of travellers say they would prefer to communicate with people back home over the internet rather than a telephone.

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Almost one-third would log onto the internet in their room when they first arrived. That topped the list of things that helped make a traveller feel more at home in their hotel room, followed by exploring the room (25 percent), taking a hot shower (14 percent) or unpacking (13 percent).

According to the survey, a lack of internet connection is the biggest travel headache for 40 percent of business travellers, followed by difficult transport links (26 percent) and a noisy location (24 percent).

The survey was carried out online by OnePoll with the 10,000 adults surveyed located 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).