These days, every hotel room has the potential – and expectation – to be a remote worker’s office. The Internet enables us to keep up with our teams and our customers in real time, wherever we have a connection.
Business travelers rank hotel Internet Wi-Fi as the most important in-room amenity
Business travelers don’t want just any Wi-Fi access with their stay; they need reliable high-speed Internet access (HSIA) to their applications and resources back at HQ, on datacenter servers or in the cloud. When hospitality companies cannot provide this amenity, they risk losing guests and considerable revenue.
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.
“Think guest Wi-Fi is vital to your business? It’s more important than that,” noted a Quadriga report. “94 percent of [guests] see a hotel room without Wi-Fi as a deal breaker.”
One company that understands this high level of expectations and has made strides in keeping guests connected is Kimpton Hotels. In a USA TODAY article, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants CEO Michael A. Depatie explained why the emphasis on connection is a must-have for customers. “You can get free Wi-Fi at your local Starbucks or burger joint, so I think you’d expect it at your hotel.” Many business travelers we’ve interviewed say they would check out of a hotel that had inadequate Wi-Fi. Goodbye guest loyalty, hotel reputation and revenue.
What’s behind this demand? Cloud and Internet-based applications like Microsoft Office 365, Google collaboration tools, Skype, Salesforce.com are a few of the applications consuming existing hotel bandwidth and creating congestion on networks. Fortunately, resorts and hotels can meet this need without a forklift overhaul of their networks by doing two things: increasing bandwidth and prioritizing traffic.
WAN Management – Link Load Balancing and Failover
WAN Management products like the Ecessa Edge and PowerLink with link load balancing and automatic link failover provide affordable, efficient management of multiple Internet connections. WANworX SD-WAN gives hotel IT leaders even more visibility and granular software-defined control over network traffic. Balancing links from multiple providers, Internet access uptime is ensured to meet the expectations of business travelers and provide an exceptional guest experience.
Hotel internal teams benefit, too. Not only does increasing bandwidth and prioritizing traffic make guests are happy, it ensures adequate resources for hotel operations. From the front desk to back office support, all Internet and cloud-based applications will run better. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants leverages this benefit throughout their luxury properties. Kimpton doesn’t have to compromise between guest Internet experience and staff productivity. Static routing and prioritization allows segregation of traffic and guarantees adequate bandwidth.
“We’re definitely seeing the value in what we purchased the Ecessa units for in the first place, with improvements to Guest Internet, operations VPN and automatic failover.” Kimpton National Property Network Engineer
Cost reduction is another great byproduct of leveraging multiple Internet connections. By using a device like Ecessa to balance traffic across multiple lower cost communication services while applying quality of service (Q0S) rules to ensure reliability, you can confidently reduce use of or even replace expensive MPLS services like T1 with lower cost, high speed broadband services. And in areas where service options are limited, hotels can combine multiple links of any available service to increase the bandwidth pool and build up resiliency.
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.
HITEC: The World’s Largest Hospitality Technology Show