When it comes to connectivity in the hospitality industry, companies in this sector have some of the most demanding users out there. Often, hotel guests don’t just want any old Wi-Fi access with their stay – if they are a corporate traveler, they simply must have fast, reliable access to their business resources through robust connectivity options. When hospitality companies cannot provide this amenity, they risk losing guests and considerable revenue.
Study demonstrates travelers’ connectivity needs
In fact, a 2014 Amenities Survey performed by Hotels.com shows that Wi-Fi access can make or break a guest’s satisfaction with his or her stay. The study found that, of 10 in-room amenities available, patrons rank Internet and free Wi-Fi access as the most important. Furthermore, as far as overall hotel property amenities, Wi-Fi still ranked within the top three most sought after features.
What’s interesting is that, according to the survey, guests place a higher value on connectivity than in-room amenities include room size, air conditioning and bathroom shower. Patrons were also more concerned about having Wi-Fi access than they were with parking, front desk service or options like a swimming pool or bar.
This demonstrates the importance of reliable, robust Wi-Fi access within the hospitality industry. The bottom line here is that guests would rather be able to connect to an Internet network than have air conditioning.
“Think guest Wi-Fi is vital to your business? It’s more important than that,” noted a recent Quadriga report. “94 percent of [guests] see a hotel room without Wi-Fi as a deal breaker.”
The issue with poor Wi-Fi service
The Quadriga report also noted that in addition to being one of the most requested in-room perks, guests are also complaining about poor Wi-Fi service more than ever before. Issues with hospitality wireless networks are now some of the top challenges IT teams deal with.
What’s more is that hotels that don’t provide adequate connectivity are feeling the impact: Many have reported reduced repeat customers, canceled corporate events and lower bookings overall. This means that when a hotel cannot provide the Internet resources guests need, they simply find a hospitality company than can.
One of the main issues seen within the industry is not enough network bandwidth. Quadriga noted that many hotel internet speeds fall considerably below 6 Mbps, representing an “overwhelmed system that can only just cope with email and Facebook.” Therefore, when an enterprise traveler attempts to access their company’s cloud system, all bets are off.
Addressing connectivity in the hospitality industry
Although many decision-makers may say, “We’ll just increase bandwidth and everything will be fine,” Quadriga noted that the answer is not always this easy. Often, the majority of available network bandwidth is consumed by a small percentage of guests that engage in bandwidth-heavy activities like streaming media, VoIP calling and the use of cloud applications. For this reason, an increase in bandwidth could be an unnecessary investment – not to mention an expensive one.
Therefore, a better solution is needed; one that will not only address current issues, but will be usable in the future as well.
“Look to technologies that overcome many of the issues you’re having with older and inferior hardware,” Quadriga advised. “Invest in technologies that will live into tomorrow.”
Automatic failover and load balancing technologies represent a small investment that can make a big difference. With these systems in place, available network bandwidth is strategically dispersed and any outages are immediately dealt with. If one line experiences downtime, automatic failover will ensure that guests still have uninterrupted Wi-Fi access.
Find out more about strategic WAN solutions for the Hospitality Industry here.