Room for improvement: The truth about hotel WiFi

Hotels are catching up with the needs of today’s digital-savvy guests. Multiple devices, the desire for people to work remotely and the explosion of on-demand services means customer connectivity is front and centre of the hotel model. Yet we’re seeing over half (52%) of European hoteliers struggle to deal with the number of connected devices on their network, while poor Wi-Fi is the second most common complaint by guests.

That’s according to our recent Connected Hospitality Report, which surveyed over 400 European hotels in ten key European markets, to better understand how the hospitality industry is using Wi-Fi services to support guests’ increasingly connected lifestyles.

With 90% of hoteliers believing their Wi-Fi is up to standard, there appears to be a large disparity between the levels of connectivity expected by guests, and the service that hotels actually provide. Hotels are overestimating their wireless network performance and likely to be compromising customer experience as a result. Taking note of the report’s key findings may provide valuable lessons to hoteliers when moving forward.

The hotel Wi-Fi challenge
Although Wi-Fi deployment in the home is relatively straight-forward, it’s often far more complex in a hotel environment. There are many factors that play a part, such as location of access points, number of users, the thickness of walls and even potential interference from electrical devices such as microwaves. The fact that almost half (49%) of the hoteliers questioned either didn’t have, or didn’t know if they’d had a site survey prior to the installation of their Wi-Fi, may shed light on why so many are facing problems.

Wi-Fi needs to be tailored to the building and guests in question, yet hoteliers appear to be taking a one size fits all approach to cope with the ever-increasing demands of a connected and varied customer base.

Wi-Fi need is tied to the business and wider customer satisfaction
Behind the scenes, guests just expect Wi-Fi to work and, if it doesn’t, there can be real-world consequences. With Wi-Fi now expected as standard when booking a room, it’s no surprise that poor bandwidth led to 57% of guests leaving unsatisfied with the hotel Wi-Fi.

Hoteliers must take note of the changing needs of their customer base, or risk losing out on valuable consumer loyalty. In today’s world, review sites like TripAdvisor play a huge role in determining how people spend their money, and it’s all too easy to neglect Wi-Fi when building an experience.

What does this mean?
From price to location and everything in between, guests choose a hotel for the quality of service, and Wi-Fi cannot be separated from the wider business offering. As services become more integrated, it’s the job of the network to carry the brunt of the weight.

Hotels must be aware of both the potential rewards and pitfalls that exist within Wi-Fi offerings when thinking about revenue and customer loyalty. Wi-Fi is now recognised as the fourth utility, and it should be on par with the other three to deliver a great customer service in hotels.

You can check out all the findings from our full Connected Hospitality Report here.