Whether you’re a frequent traveller or a once-a-year vacationer, there’s one amenity you’re probably counting on during your next hotel stay – free, working WiFi.
In a recent hotels.com survey free WiFi was ranked number one as the most important in room amenity required by hotel guests.
Fortunately, free WiFi is becoming more commonplace in hotels, unfortunately in the majority of them it’s only available in the lobby and not in the room where guests need it.
Revenue stream or poor customer service?
For far too long, certain venues within the hospitality and leisure sector have viewed internet access as a lucrative revenue stream but as wide adoption of mobile devices has rapidly swept the globe this sector hasn’t evolved quickly enough to meet demands – the reason being, many would argue, that they don’t get anything in return other than a slower connection for their own commercial use. Not ideal when they are positioning themselves as meeting venues then struggle to provide a good connection when delegates suddenly pull laptops, iPads and smartphones out of their bags.
According to a hotel consultant and social media strategist writing fortnooz.com, not all hoteliers are rubbing their hands with glee while predicting how much revenue will be generated through guests paying for internet use. He states that many want to abolish internet fees but simply can’t figure out how to offset the loss.
The Bigger Picture
What these hotels need to do is look at return on investment in a different way. Instead of looking for a direct monetary gain they should be looking at the longer-term picture, the marketing opportunities and the end-to-end customer engagement programme that social WiFi can deliver.
By the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices on earth than people with 56% of those devices being smartphones. That’s a huge audience for hotels to be engaging with through social WiFi.
What if you need more bandwidth to stream a movie?
Some hotels have offset the cost of installing free WiFi by charging for more bandwidth and faster speeds.
The structure is pretty simple—basic internet browsing is free but if guests need more bandwidth, they can pay for ‘Enhanced High Speed Internet.’ This way, everyone can get the bandwidth they need, without bringing down the hotel’s network.
“We quickly identified how our guests’ growing reliance on the Internet was causing bandwidth issues,” said Violeta Seidell, Vice President, Project Services, Marriott International. “Therefore, we created minimum bandwidth standards and infrastructure improvements that would take into account the trend of transferring larger files, as well as streaming content.”
If you manage a hotel and recognise the need to offer your guests free WiFi get in touch with a representative at Elephant WiFI. We are specialists in wireless technologies and recognise the fact that there has to be a return on investment, be it at a customer service level or monetary return we can design and implement a system that will meet your needs.