It seems only a few years ago that Wi-Fi in hotels became a necessity. For guests, free access to Wi-Fi tops the list of desired attributes. In a recent Executive Roundtable discussion published by Hospitality Technology magazine, industry executives offered advice on trends that are shaping the network needs of hospitality organizations. While the roundtable conversation highlights many essential considerations – from the most common mistakes made by operators to the evolution of network maintenance – we identified a few initiatives worth considering:
- Sufficient guest insights are part of the equation. Wi-Fi can leave guests with an underwhelming impression that affects whether they return to a property, directly impacting brand reputation. Hotels and resorts should view Wi-Fi as a platform for guest insights and not just an operational cost. Understanding what factors are most critical to guests will help inform and design a network that supports those exact expectations. Guest requirements should drive Wi-Fi decisions.
- Speed is as essential as offering complimentary Wi-Fi. Initially, when Wi-Fi became available in hotels, guests were generally accepting of the slow internet speeds. Today, with guests having a minimum of 2 or 3 devices each, that bandwidth is not enough to meet the demand for speed. Large conference groups and even families can consume a good portion of available bandwidth, which slows everyone down. Sluggish Wi-Fi is reason alone to consider shaping techniques that can dynamically reallocate ‘unused’ bandwidth to areas with higher activity.
- Take advantage of cloud technology. Guests want a seamless connectivity experience. Cloud-managed Wi-Fi technologies provide real-time dashboards for greater visibility and control, which makes it easier to deliver a sufficient Wi-Fi experience for all guests.
As several hospitality processes – such as guest check-in and check-out – are becoming modernized, hotels and resorts must use their networks and drive digital guest engagement.