Providing seamless guest WiFi is of course beneficial to hotel guests, and indeed, it’s expected of hotels nowadays.
Without a great WiFi network, you’re in danger of losing a returning guest or receiving a bad review – it really is that important. Not only that, but you can utilise your WiFi network to attain customer data to use in marketing efforts and revenue generation. Opting for a robust and monitored WiFi network for your hotel gives hoteliers peace of mind, knowing that their guests have constant access to the internet.
First off, let’s take a look at what hotel guests want and need from a WiFi network.
What does a modern guest want?
- Fast WiFi (preferably free) in all areas. The restaurant, bar, conference/meeting rooms and of course their room.
- This includes upload speeds as well as the download.
- Easy and quick Access through the Captive Portal.
What does your typical guest use the WiFi for?
- Video & audio streaming. They could be using Skype for business or personal use. Check out the typical Bandwidth use of each type of call here– but HD quality calls can take up 1.5Mbps of both your download & upload bandwidth.
- Films & boxset viewing. Let’s be honest – who watches any paid services now in an Hotel? Not many. Most guests want to watch HD quality streams – at 5Mbps per device.
- Uploads of videos & photos to social media platforms & email platforms. This will certainly be more a factor if you run meeting rooms & supply conference facilities.
How do you provide WiFi that can cater to this level of use?
Well, let’s start with the most important factor – the internet connection.
You’ll all too often get guests reporting to reception that the WiFi is rubbish, when it is in fact the internet connection being maxed out!
What connection you need onsite is difficult to calculate off the shelf. It is best to all sit down and decide what kind of WiFi experience you want your guests to have. How many rooms do you have? What type of guests do you cater for?
There are things that can be done to help manage the connection’s use, such as rate limiting – ensuring single devices don’t hog too much of the available bandwidth – and filtering illegal sites (music/film downloads/P2P).
You can also load balance multiple internet connections – 2-3 fibre broadband lines for example. This provides extra speed and redundancy should one link fail. Or the granddaddy of them all – a leased line with a DSL backup. This is usually the most expensive option, but with good reason. It’s the only real viable option for large hotels.
The bottom line is – do NOT skimp here! Buy the best connection possible. We can help guide this decision based on our sector experience. We can also set up monitoring on any existing connections to see just how they are used & whether you need to upgrade. Get in touch if you’d like more information!
Having looked at the internet connection, next you need to look at the WiFi itself.
The Importance Of Access Points
Are you using enterprise-grade WiFi Access Points with a cloud or onsite controller? If not – you need to be!
Today’s guests demand that hotel WiFi is as good as their home WiFi, if not better. Well, if we look at in-room WiFi, it is common to have one Access-Point (AP) servicing 4-6 rooms. That means 12-18 devices usually connected to it. If they are running Netflix/Skype etc and it isn’t enterprise-grade, I can tell you that is soon going to fall over.
If you expect a busy bar or restaurant to run well, you will certainly need more than one AP in each room.
Conference rooms are even worse. If you want this to work well, you may need directional Access Points to cater for the sheer number of clients. Conference clients will soon make you aware of any issues – most won’t come back if it’s bad.
Industry polls always state that good WiFi/Internet connectivity is one of the top three things guests expect – even more so among business users.
So, in summary – get the WiFi design right & ensure your Internet pipe is large enough to cater for your expected occupancy.
Now, what are the benefits to the hotelier?
Providing fast and stable WiFi is expected of hotels nowadays, and without it, you’re in danger of a negative review or losing out on a returning customer. Providing a seamless WiFi network in your hotel, though, adds one more thing to the list of factors that contributes to a great stay at your hotel.
Peace of mind
Installing and maintaining a superb wiFi network in a hotel, although essential, takes a lot of expertise. With decades of combined experience and after many successful projects in large hotels, Performance Networks take the worry about your WiFi network away from you. We run a fully managed service and helpdesk 364 days a year, 24 hours a day
Use your customer’s data
Our guest portal Supafi is fully GDPR compliant. So, if users opt in you can receive the following benefits:
- A bespoke to your venue log-on page for guests that then redirects users to a webpage of your choice. They can logon simply via acceptance of T&Cs,an email address or Social media logon details.
- This enables marketing via social media and email addresses through your own cloud portal, where you’ll also be able to see who’s accessing your network via a series of infographics, charts & graphs making all that guest data meaningful.
- Revenue generation – either:
- Directly – via the guest portal option of charging for WiFi access. Although, we would recommend at least allowing a free lower bandwidth option & only charging for a premium service at most.
- Indirectly – marketing using the collected portal data.
- Security – using VLAN & encryption methods we can securely segregate any WiFi networks from one another. That means you can utilise the same hardware for your Guest, Admin & POS systems for compliance (e.g. PCI DSS)
- Experience – we have gained this over many years. We know what is required for WiFi to work for all parties concerned. We can integrate into onsite systems via APIs & also provide IP-CCTV & IP-based phones systems to compliment the WiFi offering.
If you would like any more information on the above or flexible payment options (CAPEX or OPEX) then please speak to one of the team. We’re here to help.