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U.S. Business Travelers Miss Their Connection

ATLANTA, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- There really is no place like home, unless it is a hotel that offers free Internet connection according to new research from InterContinental Hotels Group ( IHG) which has found that being able to connect online with family and friends is now the top priority for U.S. business travelers.

The research polled 1,000 business travelers nationwide and was commissioned to mark this month's launch of IHG's renamed loyalty program, IHG® Rewards Club. It reveals that not being able to contact home due to lack of Internet connection is now the biggest travel headache for people away on business, cited by 48 percent of travelers in the U.S. as their biggest stress factor, ahead of noisy location (41 percent) and difficult transportation links (38 percent).

IHG set out to better understand hotel guests' priorities while traveling and is now the first and only hotel group to offer free Internet access globally to all its loyalty program members. This new benefit started with Elite members at the beginning of July and will roll out to all members starting in 2014, whether they are staying the night at one of IHG's nine hotel brands, or coming in for a coffee or impromptu meeting.

Other top-line findings in the U.S. underline the importance of Internet access:
  • 62 percent of those surveyed said that Internet was the most important additional facility in their hotel room above a TV (20 percent); mini-fridge (5 percent), landline phone (4 percent), bath tub (3 percent) and mini bar (1 percent).
  • Logging onto the Internet in their room when they first arrive topped the list of things that help travelers feel most at home, while staying at a hotel (25 percent), above unpacking (20 percent), taking a shower (10 percent) or turning on the TV (6 percent)
  • More than half (55 percent) of travelers say that they would prefer to communicate with people back home over the Internet rather than using the phone.
  • Almost half of business travelers (47 percent) surveyed cited connecting with family at home as the best way to de-stress at the end of a working day.
  • 83 percent said that free Internet would make them happier whilst travelling away for business.
  • And, more than two thirds of respondents, (69 percent), would be very unhappy traveling if they had no way of connecting with loved ones back home.

Relationship expert and Dating Doctor, David Coleman explains:

"Long distance relationships are difficult to successfully maintain. When we are separated from people we love or care for, we begin to physically miss their presence – their warmth, smile, touch, or facial expressions. Just hearing a voice on the phone is no longer sufficient for the modern business traveler, we need the comfort of being able to connect and see our loved ones. We need to be able to send an e-mail to our significant other to say we are thinking of them; be able to share a laugh with our children before they run off to school, and be able to stay connected to our friends back home. Being able to seamlessly and regularly connect with our loved ones is crucial, now more than ever, in maintaining strong remote relationships."

Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, IHG, said:

"We understand how important it is for our guests to be able to stay in touch whilst traveling. 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 travelers than any other hotel loyalty program worldwide.

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