HOSPITALITY SECTOR LOSING REPEAT BUSINESS BY FAILING TO MEET CUSTOMER WIFI NEEDS

A third of leisure travellers and two-thirds of business guests refuse to return to a venue with unreliable or non-existent WiFi, NETGEAR study shows.

Bracknell, UK — 7th July 2014 — Small and medium-sized hospitality venues are failing to grasp how much a reliable WiFi network matters to guests, according to a new study* by  NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTGR) (www.netgear.co.uk), a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers.

A significant 76 per cent of hospitality venues are convinced that their quality of service and facilities are far more important to customers than WiFi. As many as 43 per cent believe customers think poor or non-existent wireless access is a price worth paying for the experience on offer. However, the study shows that consumers disagree with these assumptions.

A third (33 per cent) of leisure travellers say they would not return to a hotel that offered inadequate wireless access, and this number rises to two-thirds (67 per cent) of business guests.  For boutique hotels, this could result in a potentially damaging drop in occupancy rates, further compounded by guests abandoning on-site restaurants and cafes for places where they can connect.

The study also shows that the boundaries between work and leisure time are blurring.  People on a leisure break are now just as concerned about losing online contact with work (22 per cent of young professionals aged under 24) as they are about missing updates from friends and social networks (29 per cent of the same age group). 

Some hospitality venues are starting to appreciate this, with 29 per cent admitting poor WiFi could result in guests complaining during a visit, 23 per cent accepting it could lead to negative online reviews and 37 per cent appreciating that it could mean the loss of repeat business.

These findings are reinforced by other recent surveys that show 31 per cent of UK holiday-makers rate good internet access above a clean room or a brilliant hotel restaurant**; and that one in three customers will stay longer, and one in five will pay more, at a venue that offers reliable WiFi***.

“Smaller hospitality and leisure venues must accept that for many people WiFi is now a basic need,” said Jonathan Hallatt, regional director UK, Ireland & South Africa for NETGEAR. “Wherever we are, whether it’s for work or pleasure, we immediately look for WiFi access so we can stay in touch with our online world. People expect to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to connect, not to have that decision made for them. Failure to provide a reliable wireless network means customers will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return. The financial impact of this cannot be ignored. Strong and consistent WiFi should be seen as a revenue generator, not a cost.”

NETGEAR advises smaller hospitality and leisure venues to go for an easy-to-implement and cost-effective solution that does not require advanced IT skills, can be installed quickly using existing infrastructure and that delivers consistent wireless access across the venue.

For example, hotels can deploy in-room, wall-mounted wireless access points that provide fast and reliable download speeds. A central wireless controller can manage all these access points and provide a single view of how the network is performing so the venue can react quickly to any changes.

“Consistency and quality are of equal importance,” concludes Jonathan.  “Customers don’t expect a drop in electricity power across the venue and the same now goes for WiFi. If something takes five minutes to download in the lobby, it should not take five hours back in your room. And with new, high-performing yet user-friendly solutions designed specifically for the needs of smaller firms, it has never been easier for hospitality and leisure venues to go wireless.”


ENDS

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 for NETGEAR, Inc.: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Specifically, statements concerning NETGEAR's business and the expected performance characteristics, specifications, reliability, market acceptance, market growth, specific uses, user feedback and market position of NETGEAR's products and technology are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, the following: the actual price, performance and ease of use of NETGEAR's products may not meet the price, performance and ease of use requirements of customers; product performance may be adversely affected by real world operating conditions; failure of products may under certain circumstances cause permanent loss of end user data; new viruses or Internet threats may develop that challenge the effectiveness of security features in NETGEAR's products; the ability of NETGEAR to market and sell its products and technology; the impact and pricing of competing products; and the introduction of alternative technological solutions. Further information on potential risk factors that could affect NETGEAR and its business are detailed in the Company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NETGEAR undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

U.K. Media Contact:
Lauren Davies/Jenny Jones
Berkeley PR
0118 909 0909
NETGEAR@berkeleypr.co.uk

* Opinion Matters for NETGEAR, the study surveyed 150 small and medium-sized hospitality and leisure venues in the UK, as well as 2,042 UK adults.  The research took place in May/June 2014.
** Pixmania.com, June 2014
*** The Wireless Nation, Arqiva, June 2014