Customers want what they want. In a survey of business travelers this year, 58% said free high-speed Internet access was "very" or "extremely" influential in determining where they stayed - triple the proportion from five years earlier.

Though location, price and overall reputation still matter more, "what's really remarkable is that the amenities that have risen fastest in terms of consumer preference are all technologies," said hotel marketer Peter Yesawich, whose Orlando firm conducts the annual poll. "There's an expectation that what people have in their home, they will find when traveling."

Generally speaking, that hasn't been true for a long time. The hotel industry's contributions to innovation might have peaked three decades ago when it introduced HBO to the masses. And that happened only because hotels didn't have to pony up any money: Companies such as Lodgenet Entertainment Corp. install satellite or cable TV connections for free, then give hotels a cut of their pay-per-view revenue.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times