SINGAPORE - Plugged-in hotels are likely to get the most guests checking in,
with a global survey showing websites, and hi-tech facilities, are the top
criteria travelers look for when picking a place to stay.

With 70 percent of travelers saying they would stay at a cheaper hotel due to
the global economic slowdown, a Reuters Synovate survey of 6,300 people across
10 countries looked at how people choose their hotels and what features are

Nearly a third of guests said the number-one way they assess a hotel is via
its website, followed by asking friends or colleagues, an approach particularly
popular in Southeast Asia.

Some 17 percent, mainly Japanese, said they mainly use review websites,
underscoring the importance of the Internet for the hospitality industry, global
market researchers Synovate said.

We see how vital an online presence is for hotels. Some of the larger hotel
companies are now employing people to stay on top of important review sites.
Even for smaller hotels, it cannot be ignored, Sheri Lambert, Synovate's
U.S.-based senior vice president for Travel & Leisure research, said in a

Nearly half those surveyed said they do a little research and a little
comparison -- mainly online -- before making their choice, while one in 10
people said they pick the first hotel that comes across as okay.

Overall, 47 percent of travelers make sure a hotel caters to their technology
needs before they book it, the survey showed.

It's now no longer an added feature to have wireless Internet in hotels.
Travelers, whether for business or leisure, need to be connected, Lambert

For some guests -- one in 10 -- a hotel's green credentials were vital to
having a pleasant stay, but for a third of those surveyed, toiletries are enough
to make them happy.

Most high-end hotels should - and do - make the absolute most of people's
propensity to enjoy ample samples, Lambert said, adding that half of all
American guests take toiletries.

Linking the hotel brand to a luxury beauty brand helps create a certain
lavish image in a guest's mind. Everyone wins: the hotel, the beauty brand and
the happy guest.

The survey was conducted online, via telephone and by face-to-face interviews
in January across 10 markets: Brazil, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the United