The hotel stay experience is sometimes fragmented, with a disparate collection of technologies that don’t always interact with one another, at least not very well, and multiple guest touchpoints that don’t necessarily contribute to an overall memorable experience. This results in guests who feel disconnected or dissatisfied and reduces brand affinity.
Recently I was on travel for business in the beautiful and lively city of New Orleans. It’s an unforgettable city for many great reasons. The hotel where I stayed was unforgettable too, but for a most unfortunate reason. The guest room Wi-Fi connection was there, but that’s about it. It wasn’t accessible. And there I was, in my room trying to get an important project completed and files sent to colleagues. The free Wi-Fi was utterly non-responsive. I tried moving around the room for the slightest clue of a connection, then found myself testing out different spots in common areas of the hotel. All to no avail. I was stuck, and so was the hotel, which didn’t have the bandwidth to support the numerous guests with soccer tournament kids – large families in every room just sucking up the Wi-Fi on their plethora of devices.
How many times have you found yourself in a similar situation? The demand for data has been a challenge for hotels where guest consumption requires tremendous bandwidth. It’s not just limited to large chains when every guest has more than one device that connects to local Wi-Fi. There is a growing expectation for access to view and share rich media content at high speeds from multiple devices, all at once. To stay in front of this demand, hotels should plan to invest in network infrastructure upgrades regularly and they should always monitor the security of their data environments. Any hindrance to connecting and staying connected will quickly make a negative impression. Limited-time use and, worse yet, charging for Wi-Fi are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Advanced technology is beginning to find its way into more hotels and resorts. It’s transforming the concept of delivering that memorable experience. Developing a following of happy, loyal guests includes offering a truly personalized experience. The modern guest is usually well educated and certainly has more choice than ever before. Their journey with a brand happens online, on social media, through word of mouth and while on property. The brand that perhaps takes the risk of investing in newer technologies is creating a seamless, if not personalized, experience for their guests.
Those properties are turning the burden of Wi-Fi into a benefit. Some Wi-Fi appliances have location-based services to inform operators on how guests are spending their time. Mobile POS using the Wi-Fi is another great advantage that allows hotels and resorts to extend their services to reach guests in areas that are traditionally underserved. And guest engagement increases with personalized messaging that’s possible via Wi-Fi. One of the greatest aspects of technology is its ability to connect people. It’s becoming easier to make lasting connections with guests and meet their demand for data.