- Six in 10 Brits consider access to free Wi-Fi the most important requirement for an enjoyable holiday
- 84 per cent of holiday-makers expect Wi-Fi to be free at the airport and 74 per cent expect a free Wi-Fi connection at their hotel
- Brits mainly rely on Wi-Fi to look up local information and one in ten find it essential for keeping children occupied
New research1 from Santander UK reveals that 30 million Brits (59 per cent) consider access to free Wi-Fi the most important requirement for an enjoyable holiday.
The findings reveal that free Wi-Fi is a key expectation for those on a break, essential for looking up local restaurants in the area or to keep up with social media. More than eight out of ten (84 per cent) holidaymakers expect Wi-Fi to be free at the airport and three quarters (74 per cent) expect a free Wi-Fi connection at their hotel.
With government figures showing that Brits made 45 million holiday trips abroad last year2, Wi-Fi is set to be a key factor in the chosen destinations of millions of Brits heading overseas this summer bank holiday weekend, 28 per cent of whom feel annoyed or irritated and 12 per cent of whom have ‘FOMO’ (Fear of Missing Out’) if they don’t have Wi-Fi while away.
For those going on holiday, connectivity is a priority for 59 per cent of travellers, ahead of other holiday comforts such as access to a good selection of bars and restaurants (58 per cent), cultural activities (52 per cent), good customer service at the hotel (51 per cent), air conditioning (45 per cent), close proximity to a beach (39 per cent), complimentary hotel items (37 per cent), availability of a gym or a pool (33 per cent) or access to a free crèche (9 per cent).
Forty six per cent rely on Wi-Fi to look up local information when away and to keep in touch with friends and family back home (45 per cent). Four in 10 (39 per cent) holidaymakers use Wi-Fi to keep up with the news or look up directions, whilst 29 per cent get connected to check their social media. One in 10 (11 per cent) find it essential for keeping the kids occupied.
Overall, 29 per cent of adults consider Wi-Fi access to be the deciding factor when choosing a hotel or holiday resort destination. Despite this, in the past three years the quality of hotel Wi-Fi connections fell below expectations for a fifth of holidaymakers (21 per cent), who were disappointed with the connection while abroad. Thirteen per cent have even complained about poor quality Wi-Fi access at their holiday accommodation.
Andy Warren, Head of Select & Private Marketing said: “Holiday-makers are increasingly reliant on Wi-Fi connectivity on the go when travelling abroad. Having access to a high quality Wi-Fi connection is seen as a necessity and valued over traditional holiday perks.
“The Santander World Elite Mastercard offers cardholders a host of unique travel benefits including access to a network of more than one million hotspots worldwide. Near-constant connectivity is a necessity for the majority of travellers so we deliberately designed a credit card that addresses this need and enhances cardholders travel experience.”
Santander has recently launched the new World Elite MasterCard for Select and Private customers, with a world of travel benefits such as unlimited access to over 800 LoungeKey airport lounges worldwide and free access to over one million secure global Wi-Fi hotspots through Boingo.
The credit card also offers 0.5 per cent cashback on a maximum spend of up to £3,000 per month (equivalent to £15 per month) and a competitive zero per cent on purchases and balance transfers for a period of 18 months. Available as a contactless card, it is all included for a £15 monthly fee.
Cycling boom pushes Halfords annual profit towards 100 million pounds
(Reuters) – Halfords forecast an over 60% jump in its annual profit and said it would repay the near 11 million pounds it received in government furlough support as the bicycle retailer benefits from a cycling boom during lockdowns.
Shares in the company jumped another 16% to 335 pence by 0830 GMT on Monday, having surged more than six-fold from pandemic lows hit in March.
The company, which also does motoring services and sells car parts, said its overall business has been performing stronger than anticipated despite volatile trading in the first seven weeks of the fourth quarter.
Halfords estimated annual underlying pretax profit of between 90 million pounds and 100 million pounds ($125.78 million and $139.75 million) for the year ending in March, compared with 55.9 million pounds a year earlier.
Peel Hunt analysts raised their annual profit estimate to 95 million pounds from 76 million pounds after the unscheduled trading update and suggested that Halfords was likely reinstate its dividend sometime this year.
Halfords, which availed 10.7 million in furlough support from the government, had said in July it could make a loss of 10 million pounds for fiscal 2021 under a worst-case scenario.
But in the first seven weeks of the fourth quarter, Halfords’ like-for-like sales for cycling rose 43%, offsetting a 14% fall in its high-margin motoring businesses.
Cycling also drove a more than doubling of interim profits in November as Britons took up the hobby to avoid public transport, as well as for its appeal as a healthier alternative.
($1 = 0.7156 pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Peters and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Aditya Soni)
Eurofins launches prescription-free COVID-19 test, eyes further growth
(Reuters) – Eurofins Scientific announced on Monday the launch of a prescription-free at-home COVID-19 PCR test, as the French laboratories and diagnostics company eyed further growth.
The group, which has launched an array of COVID-19 testing products it sells to governments, airlines and transport hubs, said the nasal swab test could be ordered online for $99 or bought at pharmacies across the United States.
It specified that although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorised the at-home test under an emergency use authorisation, it had not cleared or approved the product.
“We are also working very closely with European authorities for the approval of similar direct-to-consumer products,” said the group’s chief executive Gilles Martin in a statement.
The group also reported 2020 results ahead of its own targets as it lowered its 2022 guidance and set out new goals for 2023.
Eurofins estimated that its COVID-19 testing and reagents brought in over 800 million euros of the 5.44 billion euros ($6.57 billion) in revenue for 2020.
However, Eurofins said its other businesses had been hit by lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions, particularly impacting its sales to clients in the travel industry, events, restaurants and clinical trials.
The group confirmed its forecasts for this year, but said results could be materially higher should COVID-19 testing continue at the current levels.
A level of coronavirus testing and market disruptions could well continue into 2022, it added, if vaccination programmes do not build sufficient immunity in many countries by summer, or if the more infectious variants reduce their effectiveness.
Excluding further COVID-19 revenues and assuming markets return to normal by the start of next year, it lowered its 2022 revenue target to 5.45 billion euros from 5.7 billion, and its core earnings forecast to 1.30 billion from 1.35 billion.
For 2023, it forecast sales (excluding COVID-19 products) of 5.73 billion euros and core earnings of 1.38 billion.
($1 = 0.8275 euros)
(Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Louise Heavens)
Ladbrokes owner Entain raises offer for rival Enlabs to $440 million
(Reuters) – Ladbrokes owner Entain on Monday raised its cash offer for rival Swedish sports betting firm Enlabs AB to value it at around 3.7 billion crowns ($440.16 million) and said it would not increase the price further.
The British company raised its cash offer to 53 crowns per share from an earlier 40 crowns per share, an 18.6% premium to Enlabs shares’ last close.
Shares of Entain were up 1.7% at 1,437.5 pence in early trading.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a flurry of deals in the bookmaking sector, with potential buyers seeking to capitalise on a surge in online betting from customers confined to their homes during lockdowns.
“In a highly competitive and regulated industry, where consolidation is a key theme, Entain is able to provide the scale and platform needed to further support Enlabs’ long-term growth,” Entain’s chief financial officer and deputy CEO, Rob Wood, said in a statement.
Baltic-focussed Enlabs, which operates brands such as Optibet and NinjaCasino, has recommended shareholders accept the increased offer.
Under the leadership of former CEO Shay Segev, Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, planned to expand in sports betting and gaming entertainment, while exiting unregulated markets by 2023.
($1 = 8.4060 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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