Five ways to unlock the potential of your hotel WiFi

The simple fact is that Wi-Fi is now expected as a standard utility by 89% of hotel visitors. But implementing Wi-Fi across a hotel can be complex.

Hoteliers face the challenge of maintaining optimum connectivity across a wide range of hotel environments (from the lobby to the rooms) meeting the needs of all sorts of visitors (from leisure guests to business travellers) and providing the capacity to support all of their devices (from laptops to tablets and beyond).

To help us wade through these issues, we’ve put together five things hoteliers should be considering when choosing and implementing a Wi-Fi solution, to make sure they’re getting the best fit for their hotel.

No. 1 – Put capacity before coverage
A high traffic area, the lobby welcomes a wide mix of guests, requests and devices – all trying to log in to the Wi-Fi on their way up to their rooms.

This is the greatest strain on Wi-Fi services – too many devices accessing the network concurrently, as reported by over half (52%) of the hotels we surveyed.

And this point isn’t just relevant for hoteliers. Any business looking for the right access point should make sure they’re putting capacity before coverage. Selecting an AP that uses ‘Smart Antenna’ technology for demanding areas like the lobby, will give a more concentrated dose of connectivity across the space.

No. 2 – Create Hotspots
Creating ‘Hotspots’ offers hoteliers the ability to manage guest access and give priority bandwidth to those using paid for facilities like conference rooms.

To manage the bandwidth of individual users, hoteliers can issue unique codes and some are even rolling out Facebook login, for greater understanding of guests and more accurate analytics.

This approach isn’t right for all, but for hotels offering premium services to a select group, it’s an easy way to ensure guest satisfaction.

No. 3 – Remember every guest is different
A single room can become an office for a conference delegate, and a family room can quickly become a multiple screen cinema. So it’s important to make sure the bandwidth is distributed to the services that need it most.

For example, the business user checking their email is unlikely to notice a small lag in speed, whereas the family streaming a movie on the smart TV would.

So even though a lot of importance is put on the access points within a Wi-Fi network, choosing the right type of switch gives the hotelier the ability to manage all these different requirements and give their guests a seamless experience no matter how they’re using the network.

No.4 – Guests don’t stop – neither should the Wi-Fi
Today’s guests expect first class work out facilities, including great connection. Yet in our survey, only two in three hotels offer Wi-Fi in the gym. Where else might be missing connectivity where it’s critical?

When we looked, Wi-Fi was available in 96% of bedrooms, but surprisingly, in only 87% of meeting rooms.

Remember: even when guests are busy doing other things, they’ll probably also want to be able to get online at a moment’s notice. Listening to Audible or Spotify in the gym; checking their emails in a meeting; or booking a day activity over breakfast.

No.5 – Good Wi-Fi = more satisfied guests
Poor bandwidth is responsible for 57% of guests leaving unsatisfied with the Wi-Fi service they got in a hotel.

In fact, poor Wi-Fi service was also the second most commonly cited complaint after noise, and was raised by almost a fifth (18%) of the hotels we asked.

This is the main takeaway. Guests – whether leisure or business – choose a hotel for the quality of service they receive. Wi-Fi is an enormous part of that – hoteliers shouldn’t overlook the importance of delivering high capacity, wide coverage and reliable performance for their guests.

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