Improving Guest Experience & Business Operations
Today, hotel guests rank Wi-Fi access higher than every other amenity, including complimentary breakfast and free parking. According to Forrester Research, 94% of guests see a hotel room without Wi-Fi as a deal breaker.
However, this level of expectation is coming with big disappointment: issues with hotel network performance and accessibility are topping guest complaints according to IT decision makers.
A Hotels.com poll found similar results when travelers from around the world were asked to rank 33 amenities in order of importance. The ability to connect to the Internet was deemed the most important property amenity.
Hotels are paying the price for inadequate Wi-Fi with weak repeat business, lower bookings, waived fees and cancelled corporate events. Poor Wi-Fi is now a $5 billion headache for the world’s hotels. (Source: USA TODAY)
Kimpton Hotels understands their guests’ connectivity expectations and is making strides to keep them connected and provide the best possible experience. Kimpton has a collection of 64 boutique hotels in 33 cities nationwide. The company is focused on customizing guest experiences. As they say, “our ‘standard’ perks are decidedly non-standard.” Kimpton management understands that today’s travelers are ever-more demanding and tech-savvy, and they’re expecting hotels to adapt.
In a USA TODAY piece, former 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.”
It’s not just a solid room connection that guests are craving, it’s a conveniently connected experience throughout the property.
“Millennial customers in particular are going to want to book with their mobile device or online. They’re going to want to check in on the way from the airport to the hotel. While they’re there, they may want to have an app to order room service or theater tickets. On the way down in the elevator, they’re going to want to check out on their phone,” Depatie said. “On the way to the front door, they’re going to want to post a review on social media, maybe stop in the lobby and do a selfie, post it on Instagram. And, on the way to the airport, they’re going to want the manager of the hotel to respond to their comment on TripAdvisor.”
In order to meet, and in most cases, exceed their guests’ expectations, Kimpton deployed Ecessa Powerlink® devices at each location to provide network failover and load balancing. The result is automatic failover between WAN connections, including ISP links, with load balancing and traffic shaping, to eliminate network congestion and deliver an amazing Wi-Fi experience for every guest.
Kimpton also leverages Ecessa Insight® a centralized, browser-accessed, management tool that gives their San Francisco-based IT staff the ability to configure, manage and monitor any Ecessa solution at any of their locations. This highly configurable and flexible management tool allows Kimpton to do everything from making configuration changes to viewing network status, from anywhere, at any time.
“Every Kimpton property receives an Ecessa device, so guests get internet and load balancing/failover benefits,” said the National Property Network Engineer of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “What they get because of that? Great Internet service that never goes down.”
Using the Ecessa solution, in combination with a hospitality Internet access gateway appliance, Kimpton has accomplished several goals:
- Kimpton provides a robust Internet experience by combining multiple ISP connections for increased bandwidth and by load balancing guest traffic sessions for fast performance. This happens while maintaining the content filtering and control Kimpton requires.
- Scalability grows with customer demand. When Kimpton reaches a point where they need to add more bandwidth, they simply acquire additional ISP connections and quickly incorporate them into the solution.
- Today, 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.
- With the Ecessa units in place, Kimpton has reduced guest complaints due to network performance. And they’ve avoided network outages and reduced IT costs by providing automated failover.
- With centralized monitoring through Ecessa Insight, the Kimpton staff always knows the state of the device and Internet access at all locations. They can address carrier issues as they begin to develop, well before they reach an emergency “Internet down” condition.
“We definitely see the value in Ecessa, with improvements to guest Internet, operations VPN, automatic failover and management of the devices,” said Slater.
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