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February 11, 2015

Report: U.S. Businesses Spend $7.3 Billion to Keep Travelers Connected




By Esther Hertzfeld

U.S. companies spend a combined $7.3 billion annually to allow business travelers paying to stay connected while they travel, according to a global research release conducted by Gabriel Research & Management Ltd. for Amba Hotels. The average U.S. business traveler spends $15.10 on Wi-Fi and roaming charges on each trip. The research was carried out in the U.K., U.S., France, and Germany, from Jan. 19-25 with approximately 750 respondents per country.

When it comes to Wi-Fi charges, it appears that hotels and airports are the worst offenders, with some charging up to $26 for 24 hours, the report says. Apart from the upfront cost, the report suggests that there are other indirect impacts on travelers. Up to 70 percent of business travelers are regularly unable to work efficiently due to slow or unreliable wi-fi connections, reports Computer Business Review. Thirty-eight percent had been unable to join a work call or video-conferencing meeting, while 17 percent had missed a work deadline.

The Amba Hotels research found travelers to/in other markets face the same dilemma; the overall cost of Wi-Fi to businesses globally and in key business travel markets:

  • US – $7.3 billion annually (average spend $15.10 per trip)
  • UK – £371 million annually (average spend £16.30 per trip)
  • France – €232 million annually (average spend €22.10 per trip)
  • Germany – €3.6 billion annually (average spend €21.10 per trip)

Financial commentator and founder of  letssavemoney.com, Sarah Willingham told Incentive Travel UK that fast, free, reliable Wi-Fi is non-negotiable for modern business travelers. “With airlines and rail companies investing in Wi-Fi on board and international roaming charges falling dramatically, it’s inexcusable to keep charging extortionate rates for patchy Wi-Fi connections,” she said.


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