Busy hotel managers require uninterrupted service from their utility providers, be it gas, electricity, linen or phone services. Hotels depend on these fundamentals to run smoothly, so as not to distract managers from their busy duties or disrupt guest satisfaction. Now stakeholders in hotel management have one less thing to worry about, smart WiFi distribution fully managed by their communications provider.
Here is everything you need to know about how smart WiFi distribution works and how your business can keep guest satisfaction up and generate ROI.
Think Capacity First
There are three pillars of connectivity that businesses in the hospitality industry should consider when setting up their WiFi infrastructure: capacity, coverage and the internet coming into the building.
In recent years, WiFi coverage was the biggest concern for hotels, as the majority of guests primarily used the internet to find nearby attractions or to check the weather, which put little strain on the system. To ensure proper internet coverage all hotels needed to do was ensure that their WiFi access points were evenly spread throughout the premises.
Research shows that consumers carry an average of 3.64 devices on their person. This means that a family of two adults and two children might have as many as 14 devices in a hotel at one time. This now means that almost every guest that stays in your establishment is a technology critic that can make their voices heard on TripAdvisor if they’re not absolutely satisfied.
Previously, a hotel with 100 bedrooms would only need around 15 connection points to provide connectivity to their guests. Now with the evolving streaming habits of guests, this network traffic could cause congestion when flowing through connection points.
Today, the same 100-bedroom hotel would require double the amount of access points to keep everyone online and provide them with a good WiFi experience. A managed WiFi service provider can not only help hotels set up their access points in the right places, but also review customer usage and identify any capacity or coverage issues over time.
Build to Scale
Once your establishment has the adequate infrastructure in place, bandwidth and speed can be increased if the demand on your network grows. If you have a service provider, who is managing your WiFi and offering end-to-end support, they can monitor the demand being put on the network over time and see when your system is approaching full capacity. If this happens, they can work with you beforehand to make any upgrades required so that you or your guests don’t have to experience any dreaded downtime.
Conquer Trip Advisor with Dedicated Support
With a managed service, hotels and their staff don’t need to take the flack if guests can’t get online. With Virgin WiFi, for example, guests are supported individually in the room. This means that one-to-one troubleshooting can take place between the support team and the guests. This differs from other providers that might just manage the infrastructure. They would be able to tell you if your system was down, but not explain why one guest can’t get online while there are no other complaints from other customers.
The changing demographic of smart device users can also be challenging for hotels. Yes, device users are getting younger but older age groups are also using the technology. In a hotel setting, these new adapters might have configurations on their devices that work with the guests’ home WiFi but are preventing them from achieving connectivity in the hotel. A fully managed end-to-end service provider would conduct training with hotel staff, that will help them with basic troubleshooting, as well as assisting guests to get in contact with Virgin WiFi’s dedicated support team.
As most of your guests are going to be checking out the next day, even a one day turnaround on a problem fix is unacceptable. If you have IT problems at night and say an engineer is coming at lunch the following day to fix it, all you will be doing is reassuring your guest that it will be fixed for the next occupant of the room.
The days of guests complaining at the desk are gone and most will now take their grievances online to Yelp and TripAdvisor. With guests ranking free reliable WiFi as their number one consideration when they are booking a hotel, you can be sure they’re going to take it out on your rating if they are unhappy.
Another advantage of using a managed WiFi service is the analytical insights that your provider can equip you with.
If for example analytics revealed that your guests were congesting at a certain location in the hotel, by a lift or in a quiet area of the conference room where they were making calls, your marketing department could use this data to choose the best position for placing advertising.
If you found that there was a high number of IOS devices accessing your network on a certain floor of your hotel (perhaps indicating these guests have a high disposable income), you could trial some more premium concessions in the room such as pay-per-view TV content, or more luxury mini bar items that guests with a higher disposable income would be open to.
Even at the most basic level, the hotel would be able to collect the email address of the guests that are signing up to the WiFi and then add them to marketing mailing lists going forward.
Diversify your Services
It’s not just the ‘consumer’ guests that can benefit from the managed WiFi service, corporate guests can also reap the benefits when hotels arrange their WiFi in such a way that their conference guests have a dedicated WiFi network for an event. This is a popular trend in the exhibitions industry. Once the initial internet infrastructure is put in place by your smart WiFi distribution provider, then this can be arranged with ease.
Adapt Your Network for IoT
The rise of smart TVs, smart fridges and even devices that allow housekeeping staff to alert reception that guest rooms are ready, are an exciting technological advancement, but also a new burden on your hotel’s network. While it’s advised that hotels should segregate their network for these smart devices and keep their front desk check-in system on another network, this is of course budget dependent.
Segregate the Networks
If it’s not affordable for you to have three separate networks, one for IoT devices, one for guest WiFi and one for the front desk, your managed WiFi provider can set up firewalls to create three virtual networks, reducing the chances of your guest WiFi running into difficulties.
A Provider That Looks After You
As Virgin WiFi is in direct contact with hotel guests in a support capacity, it can combine feedback, data from guest interactions and analytical data to optimise the WiFi service in your hotel.
Placed in the crucial position between the hotel and the end user, Virgin’s smart WiFi distribution offering provides the essential balance needed to keep all stakeholders satisfied.
Those who disrupt the future will win the future. Demand Extraordinary.
To learn more about Virgin WiFi, contact: 1800 940 064 or visit www.virginmedia.ie/business