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Published on January 4th, 2014 | by Ivan Widjaya

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Wi-Fi For Business Travellers Is Paramount – But How Available Is It?

Imagine this: you’ve boarded the train to your business trip destination a few minutes early and have settled into your seat.

You reach into your pocket for your smartphone or laptop and start work on a few finishing touches so you’re ready to shine when you arrive. Not long into the journey, you open the internet to do some fact checking or find a vital statistic.

But wait, what’s this? Internet explorer cannot display the webpage? And then it dawns on you…you’re in the middle of the countryside and there’s no signal for miles – sound familiar!

Between busy work schedules in the office and packing for an impromptu trip, people who travel on business are quite often pushed for time, which means they have no option but to tidy up pitches and presentations while making their way to a business meeting.

However, when there is limited or no access to the internet this can present a challenge.

Over three quarters of UK business travellers complain of “unproductive moments” while on the move, according to a recent You Gov study commissioned by Concur.

Plans to improve mobile broadband access on UK trains

This is a significant proportion, which has prompted Network Rail and train operators to pen a business plan focusing on rolling out high-speed mobile broadband across the busiest sections of the UK’s train network.

The proposal was announced during the Conservative Party conference in Manchester by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and will concentrate on improving connectivity along stretches of track which have intermittent or poor mobile signal.

The first improvements are set to be introduced in 2015, with the government stating that 70% of train passengers will benefit from the new technology by 2015.

This will be achieved by updating Network Rail’s existing infrastructure and installing specialist equipment that breaks down the barriers to provide good signals on board.

Mr McLoughlin said: “There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal.

“Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality. Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the end of poor coverage on our railways.”

Concur’s general manager in Europe, Isabel Montesdeoca, said: “The prospect of high-speed internet on a train that is faster than the connection in most of our own living rooms is a great way of fixing the problem, and ensuring road warriors can stay on top of things back at the office while on the road.”

Business travellers choose accommodation based on Wi-Fi connectivity

It is similarly frustrating when you return from a business meeting to your accommodation and are unable to prepare for the next one due to a poor internet connection.

Research by commercial Wi-Fi network iPass found that Wi-Fi or a wired connection in a hotel is a concern for 95% of corporate travellers.

Moreover, a poor or good experience impacts 37% of business travellers when deciding whether to use that hotel again in the future.

A further 17% will either avoid or seek out a specific hotel chain based on a negative or positive experience.

Hotels sometimes fail to meet the needs of business travellers, with some rooms lacking a desk or a good chair with an adjustable height and good lumbar support, never mind broadband – all of which are crucial for business travellers to work.

Many hotels often charge for internet use on top of the room fee, and it is sometimes the case that a connection is not even available through the hotels meeting rooms or lobby.

Alternative accommodation

Serviced apartments are fast becoming popular among business travellers and since these cater to their needs in every way, it is easy to see why.

Serviced apartments give corporate travellers the space and flexibility they need to work while away on business.

This is in stark contrast to hotel rooms, where space is often at a premium and guests have to go out or make use of the hotel restaurant at mealtimes. Serviced apartments provide the convenience and flexibility business travellers need with a fully equipped modern kitchenette.

The best serviced apartments offer complimentary Wi-Fi rather than charging extra for this everyday essential. This gives guests the option to work as and when it suits rather than them basing their schedule around when and where a connection can be secured.

About the Author: This article is courtesy of Simon Colley of Supercity Aparthotels, Supercity operate three  luxury serviced apartment properties in London, you can follow them on Twitter @SupercitySC

Photo credit: Ryan Stavely

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About the Author

A mobile entrepreneur who loves to work anytime, anywhere he wants. He runs several popular business blogs, make money online and live a geoarbitrage lifestyle. He typically works at home and travel with his family when he wants to, often without his business.


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