At this point, is it even necessary to talk about how vital WiFi has gotten for virtually any business that is open to the public? After all, according to a Hotels.com survey last year, more than 1/3 of travelers say free hospitality WiFi is their number one decision-maker, and over half of business travelers say WiFi is an absolute must-have.
WiFi is a huge customer draw for any hospitality business, as well as a great money-making opportunity... and that's on top of the productivity benefits it can bring to your workers.
The key, however, is truly providing a quality experience that your visitors enjoy. Poor WiFi performance can also lead directly to poor online reviews. In other words, this isn't something to do halfway. If your hotel offers WiFi, make it good WiFi
Four Tips For Enhancing Your Visitors' WiFi Experience
1 - Add a Services or Room Service Portal
Not every guest will make use of a services portal, but it can be a great addition when you're already setting up your server anyway. Basically, why have your front desk take calls when you can set up a portal and messaging system which allows people to order their own room service, without the need for a call?
It's more convenient for visitors, as well as taking burdens off your desk staff.
Alternatively, you could also do as we've seen some hotels do, and set up partnerships with nearby businesses. In the same way you might have a deal with the local pizzarias or Chinese restaurants for easy delivery, look to add them to the portal in exchange for ad revenues or a cut of their delivery fees.
2 - Ensure Strong Connectivity
This is an issue we see at far too many hotels. Basically, the same sorts of materials you put in your walls to sound-proof the rooms can also have the effect of WiFi-proofing those rooms. Especially, concrete or steel rebar can quickly ruin WiFi transmissions.
So test the connectivity in your rooms, and ensure that every room has good coverage. If there are weak spots, or rooms that cannot get a signal, look to add more access points, or stronger antennas.
3 - Add Tiered Service Access
There's always a fair amount of tension in hotels over the question of how much bandwidth to invest in, and how fast your WiFi service should run. After all, bandwidth costs (a little) money, and there's no reason your WiFi service shouldn't be able to pay for its own costs.
So, we suggest having at least two tiers of service: A slower free service that's primarily for email, Facebook, and other "pure browsing" activities, and a paid upgrade which unlocks the speeds needed for larger downloads or video streaming.
Most customers are aware that free WiFi isn't truly free, and should consider this a fair compromise as long as the higher tiers aren't exorbitantly-priced. Don't look to soak corporate expense accounts with high access fees - that only still works at the most high-end of hospitality locations unless you're delivering a truly exceptional level of speed\service.
4 - Be Ready To Expand
It's an unfortunate truism in the networking industry: Any given setup has, at most, an active life of about five years. The rapid march of progress, and certain hard physical limitations on chemically-based elements like batteries, mean that a network will never be top-of-the-line for long.
In other words, a WiFi network isn't a fire-and-forget solution. After a couple years passes, if your guests start to complain about slow speeds, the only real solution will be upgrades. Consider working out a deal with a networking specialist, for leasing and\or trading in hardware for cheaper upgrades.
It'll get you better reviews online, and keep your visitors happier.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about installing hospitality WiFi networks, or your networking options in general, don't hesitate to call Hummingbird Networks for a free consultation.