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Business travellers paying for Wi-Fi to stay connected when abroad are costing British firms £370 million a year, it has been claimed.
The figure comes from research conducted by Amba Hotels which found that the average UK business traveller spends £16.30 on Wi-Fi and roaming charges on each trip.
This is a third more than the average spend in the US where free Wi-Fi is more widely available.The research fingered hotels and airports as the worst offenders, with some charging up to £17 for 24 hours.
Up to 70% of business travellers were found to be regularly unable to work efficiently due to slow or unreliable Wi-Fi connections.
Around 20% were unable to join a work call or video conference meeting, almost a fifth have been late for an important conference or video call, and 1 in 10 have felt the impact on their personal lives after being unable to contact friends and family.
Sarah Willingham, financial commentator and founder of letssavemoney.com, said: “Fast, free, reliable Wi-Fi is non-negotiable for modern business travellers.
“With airlines and rail companies investing in Wi-Fi onboard and international roaming charges falling dramatically, it’s inexcusable to keep charging extortionate rates for patchy Wi-Fi connections.”
Mike DeNoma, chief executive of glh Hotels, the parent company of Amba Hotels, added: “Wi-Fi is consistently one of the key criteria that influences our guests’ choice of hotel – in fact for some people, it’s more important than a good night’s sleep.”
The research highlights the overall cost of Wi-Fi to businesses globally and in key business travel markets:
• France – €232 million annually (average spend €22.10 per trip)
• UK – £371 million annually (average spend £16.30 per trip)
• Germany – €3.6 billion annually (average spend €21.10 per trip)
• US – $7.3 billion annually (average spend $15.10 per trip)
To help businesses and consumers avoid expensive Wi-Fi charges, Amba Hotels has teamed up with RottenWi-Fi.com to track the best and worst Wi-Fi hotspots.