The website Hotel Wi-Fi Test, which provides travelers with detailed information on the quality of the Internet at their specific hotel, has introduced its new Wi-Fi Happiness Ranking, highlighting how important access to quality Internet is to people when they travel.

Prior to the happiness ranking, hotels on the site were sorted by the expected speed of their Internet. Often times this was misleading, however, as a hotel with a great download speed may have a dismal upload speed, making the quality of video calls terrible and disrupting communication. In an age when so many people travel for work and rely on cloud-based communication strategies, expecting one speed and getting another is unacceptable.

The new ranking uses a variety of metrics, including latency, stability and both download and upload speeds to provide users with a comprehensive score. The site also provides an overall confidence rating that reflects how well the Wi-Fi has been tested.

A solid Internet connection has become increasingly important to travelers as so many are now on trips for work instead of pleasure. A recent survey by online retailer Pixmania found that respondents were more interested in Wi-Fi access at their hotel than having a clean room while on vacation. Almost one-third of respondents put Wi-Fi access ahead of cleanliness, ranking Internet second overall in terms of desired comforts while traveling. Only a nice view was thought to be more important.

Mobile use increasing importance of quality Wi-Fi
The growing reliance on mobile devices has also made reliable Wi-Fi a valuable commodity. According to a new study by online travel company Expedia, travelers are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices, treating them as a concierge, tour guide and travel companion all in one. More than half of the survey's participants reported that their decisions on booking flights and hotels were impacted by the price and availability of Wi-Fi.

The Expedia report, which included surveys of more than 8,800 employed adults in 25 countries, found that 76 percent of travelers believe their smartphones to be either very important or critical to their daily lives. Seventy percent said the same about their laptops. The study also found that 35 percent of travelers use their smartphones more when they are on a trip than they do at home. In fact, 30 percent of respondents reported carrying some type of device to recharge their smartphones while on the go when traveling so they don't have to wait until they're back in the hotel to plug in. 

"For business trips, mobile devices are already a requirement for most travelers, and mobile usage trends are still increasing," said Rob Greyber, president of Expedia's business travel brand, Egencia. "This is because mobile devices and enabling-apps make corporate travel smoother and more productive."

As travelers – especially those on business – rely more heavily on their mobile devices, access to reliable Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly important. Hotels with good Internet connections are being singled-out and earning a better reputation among guests than accommodations without decent Wi-Fi. Hotels looking to gain an advantage over their competition would be remiss not to take a hard look at their Wi-Fi offerings and make necessary upgrades to provide improved latency, resiliency and speed.