Top 5 Mistakes Hotels Make with Wi-Fi
and How to Fix Them
By Mitch Huskey, Director of Sales Engineering, Cloud5 Communications
Hotel technology isn’t easy. In fact, it’s getting harder every day because what guests demand is changing every day – especially in the area of guest Wi-Fi. Gone are the days when guests are satisfied with simply getting a reliable connection. Today’s guest brings multiple devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. She wants them to all connect, fast – downloading emails, streaming video, and video conferencing live with work and family. Serving all these changing needs better than the next property can make or break a hotel brand.
Let’s review the top 5 mistakes that hotels make in delivering HSIA to guests, and how to fix them and get on the path to your best hotel online guest experience!
#1 Ignoring guest usage trends.
Don’t’ make the mistake of not listening to your guests. By listening, we mean understand your data analytics. Knowing when your peaks and valleys of demand occur and the type of applications your guests are accessing allows you to ensure you have the right service available.
The key metrics you want to follow are:
- Number of user sessions online per hour
- Time session started
- Length of session
- Bandwidth utilization
- Data transferred (both upload and download), indicating the range of apps from video streamline to email
Make sure your HSIA provider offers reporting that demonstrates trends and provides insight into improving service levels for your guests. These insights will help you understand when you need to increase capacity, offer tiered service levels and load balance high traffic periods.
#2 Deploying for yesterday instead of tomorrow.
Hotel guest Wi-Fi usage trends will not decline if your hotel is growing and occupancy is on the upswing. So, plan for your next phase of growth today. There are more bandwidth-hogging applications on the horizon that your guests will be logging into soon. Be prepared. It is more cost-efficient to have a Wi-Fi growth strategy that’s agile and can change with your needs.
Ask your HSIA provider for strategies that keep you ahead of the bandwidth game:
- Load balancing
- SD-WAN bandwidth orchestration
- Network management tools
- Quality of Service (QoS) prioritize network traffic
#3 Thinking no one will notice you don’t meet your brand standards of service.
Believe us. Guests will notice. Standards are set because they matter to your guests. When you don’t keep up with brand or industry level recommendations. Service to your guests suffers and so will your hotel ratings. Guests rate good Wi-Fi at the top of the list for hotel requirements, right alongside a comfortable bed and free breakfast.
The first thing that guests do when the Wi-Fi service is poor is take to social media sites like Facebook or TripAdvisor. Bad scores have a long life online and will impact your bookings and ADR.
Some top hotel brands are seeing their guest satisfaction scores plummet due to poor enforcement of standards.
If you have HSIA standards, enforce them with your properties.
If you don’t have HSIA standards today, get them. (Email us at email@example.com for information on the right standards from your hotel type and size.)
#4 Losing extra revenue available with tiered service.
Don’t be afraid to charge your big bandwidth users. For guests with multiple devices and high demand for streaming apps like Netflix or Hulu, introduce a tiered service. Guest that want reliable streaming services will pay the small incremental fee and it will prevent service quality issues for your other guests. It’s a nice revenue stream that can go towards helping fund your next project.
#5 Installing it and forgetting it.
Don’t assume your network won’t change – quickly. Your network is a living ecosystem. It changes daily based on your guest profile, occupancy, and events being held at your property. Make sure you and your HSIA partner are monitoring your network 24/7 for bandwidth management, service interruptions and traffic fluctuations that impact your service. A typical HSIA network is upgraded every three years and during that time, you may add additional features such as Enterprise Network Management, Conference/Event Wi-Fi service, or additional bandwidth.