With the increasing need to remain connected when travelling, hotel WiFi is seen by many business travellers as an important must-have. However, the latest iPass survey paints a bleak picture around the effectiveness and safety of hotel WiFi offerings.

Craig Lowe, execMobile founder, says 71% of mobile workers try to counteract the unpredictable nature of WiFi access by researching WiFi availability before they leave. This is as a result of many who still believe that WiFi is their only option for affordable connectivity abroad even though most are aware of service, security and productivity issues.

“73% of the 1 400 respondents surveyed, aged between 22 and 54, highlighted the need for connectivity saying WiFi was important. However, 81% of users reported having a bad experience with hotel WiFi in the past year, while 82% stated that they found free hotel WiFi services to be limited, slow, and unreliable,” he says.

While service quality was a huge issue 73 percent stated they were distrustful of public WiFi, whether free or paid, and raised concerns about the security on hotel WiFi networks.

Furthermore, 69% of mobile workers stated they were nervous to place payment information into a hotel WiFi paywall on their browser.

And yet while mobile works are more apprehensive about using public WiFi, Lowe says the need for connectivity is going up. In fact mobile workers went as far as to say that reliable WiFi was a basic need and they’ll base decisions on where to spend money on a hotel’s ability to meet those needs.

WiFi is so important to travellers when staying in a hotel that they rated it the second most important factor – after a comfortable bed.

“These fundamentals highlighted by the survey (security, speed and quality of the connection) have a direct bearing on how productive people are in hotel WiFi hotspots,” Lowe says.

All three of these issues are solved by utilising a personal secure portable WiFi router. These routers utilise the security on offer via the mobile networks while creating the users own personal secure cloud of connectivity, says Lowe. A pocket WiFi solution means users don’t have to use the hotel network at all, which improves connectivity security and speeds.

However, the need for speed is offset by the cost of data when travelling. Only 18% of respondents said they don’t limit the use of applications while roaming. The vast majority, however, do exercise restraint, and web browsing takes the greatest hit at 56%. Mobile workers stated they are also a lot less likely to use mobile apps while they’re roaming.

“Mobile workers therefore need to look at an international data solution that will lower the cost of international data, while at the same time enabling mobile works to use a pocket WiFi solution that gives them the freedom to work from wherever they are and effective security to protect them while the work,” he says.