How to use hotel WiFi to improve guest experience
WiFi access used to be something you would begrudgingly purchase at great cost if you needed to get access to your email while you are at a hotel. Recent statistics from a survey conducted by Roomzzz indicate that hotel Wifi is one of the most important parts of the guest experience with 65% of guests getting online within seven minutes of checking in and a third requesting the hotel WiFi password as soon as they arrived. Respondents also listed WiFi as #2 on their wish lists. Only free room upgrades were considered more appealing.
According to the J.D. Power 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, free WiFi is one of the three most important amenities alongside breakfast and parking. In the survey, 71% of hotel guests say they received complimentary WiFi and over half received complimentary breakfast and free parking.
In the past, hotel WiFi was a luxury only those traveling for business had access to, but now, it has become a key amenity that the majority of guests look for when booking a hotel. Largely thanks to social media and instant messaging, there is a growing need to be permanently connected to the internet. A hotel with fast, free WiFi is almost a necessity for the always-on guest of today.
For some, getting online is an absolute necessity. 61% of the Roomzzz survey respondents felt "bored, lonely and cut off from the real world" if they were unable to get online whereas 10% said they would go into an all-out panic if they couldn't connect to the internet.
Besides, hotel WiFi technology is an enabler for some of the most relevant trends in guest experience.
Welcome to the virtual concierge
The rising trend of virtual concierge services is further proof that hotel guests are demanding more digital interaction during their stay. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Marriott Rewards on the future of travel, 61% of respondents believed that modern technology will be sufficient for hotels to cater for their guests, using 24/7 virtual concierge services. This is something that is already becoming a reality for some guests with some hotels beginning to experiment with artificially intelligent concierge services.
Better In-Room Experience
Hotel WiFi isn’t just important for social media and communicating with the outside world, according to the same survey by Roomzzz, a quarter of respondents prefer to watch online streaming services in place of the complimentary hotel TV. Just like in their normal life at home, guests expect to be able to watch what they want, when they want on demand. The survey also revealed that the most frequent use of free hotel WiFi was to check the weather at their current location.
Why do we need to monitor network performance
A whopping 94% of business travelers claimed that well-performing WiFi was essential to their stay in the hotel, but the need for constant WiFi access is not only important for workaholics.
As the modern enterprise becomes more distributed, people traveling for all types of reasons, be that work or pleasure, require constant connectivity. Not only does it allow workers to “always be on”, for example, being able to casually check work emails on vacation or connect to conferences and collaborations whilst away for business, it also benefits leisure travelers hugely. Guests nowadays can share photos from their travels on social media to show those at home, as well as having access to streaming services when work isn't at the forefront of their minds. In fact, many modern-day travelers are opting for a little-to-no coverage plan from their wireless carrier in favor of Wi-Fi hopping along with their trips.
Business guests: one piece of the puzzle
It’s not just about delivering Wi-Fi technology to guests: Connectivity also plays a major role in driving the success of major brands throughout the hospitality industry from an operational perspective.
As has been the case in other industries, hotel brands today connect their various branch or franchise locations via a corporate-wide area network (WAN) that supports many of the critical applications hoteliers need to keep both the guests happy and the lights on. For instance, guests expect a simple and smooth check-in process akin to what they’re increasingly experiencing with point-of-sale systems at retailers. Hotels can avoid bottlenecks at the checkout by arming check-in staff with Wi-Fi-enabled devices that allow employees to service staff from different parts of the property.
The hotel’s WiFi needs to be able to handle an array of personal and business devices that customers bring along, as well as share enough bandwidth to support large volumes of data or real-time communication apps.
At the end of the day, however, hotel networks need to support a seemingly countless number of business and pleasure apps that all place unique demands on network capacity that IT needs to support.
Hotel business changes reflect a cultural shift
Ensuring connectivity is especially critical as the model for many hotel businesses change with the new lifestyle of the modern traveler. Because 85% of travelers bring some kind of Wi-Fi-enabled device with them to their lodging, delivering on connectivity has become a key metric that individual branch locations are graded on.
At the end of the day, IT teams need a network performance monitoring solution that breaks down the barriers to visibility across the network where issues hindering performance could be hiding.
Leveraging WiFi data into guest behavior analytics
Besides, WiFi technology hides a great value for hoteliers in terms of guest analytics. By gathering data collected by the distributed hotel WiFi access points in hotel facilities we can generate motion intelligence insights that are extremely useful to understand how our guests are moving inside the hotel. Examples of the data that could be gathered by empowering data already generated by their WiFi technology include what facilities the guests are using, when, for how long and even how long our guest spend in relevant user experience touch-points such as reception cue.