In survey after survey, Wi-Fi is one of the top amenities that business and leisure travelers look for when picking a hotel. In fact, not only do guests consider it a must-have, many are willing to pay extra for higher speeds. For example, in TripAdvisor’s survey of more than 34,000 travelers, 26 percent said they need super-fast Wi-Fi, and 11 percent would pay a premium to get it.
That research highlights a big, obvious part of the business case for deploying or upgrading your Wi-Fi network, but it also can overshadow a lot of other, equally compelling benefits. Here are four additional ways that fast, reliable, seamless Wi-Fi benefits your brand and bottom line:
- International business travelers frequently rely on Wi-Fi as an alternative to expensive cellular data roaming. That makes great Wi-Fi critical for hotels that cater to international guests, such as those near major convention centers.
- Event organizers now make Wi-Fi a top priority when choosing a venue. One reason is because their attendees use it: 84 percent in a recent Center for Exhibition Industry Research survey, for example. Another reason is because organizers, presenters and exhibitors need fast, reliable, seamless Wi-Fi to download their booth presentations, stream their keynote videos and process credit card transactions at registration kiosks.
- Guests complain when Wi-Fi isn’t at least as fast as what they have at home or in the office—or at other hotels. When the front desk is swamped playing help desk, guests checking in get irritated, too. That dissatisfaction often shows up in their social network reviews.
- Wi-Fi can maximize the efficiency of employees and building systems. For example, Wi-Fi is a convenient, cost-effective way to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices for energy efficiency, such as HVAC sensors and controllers. Wi-Fi also is ideal for connecting the tablets and VoIP phones that enable employees to work more efficiently and be more responsive to guests.
To achieve these and other benefits, look for Wi-Fi solutions that are designed to meet the hospitality market’s unique requirements. For example, Samsung’s WEA412h access point is built into a wall plate and connects to the CAT 5/6 Ethernet cable that most guest rooms already have. This design:
- Eliminates the expense of pulling new cables just to ensure that every guest room has Wi-Fi.
- Avoids coverage holes, capacity-sapping interference and other problems that can arise when relying on hallway access points to put Wi-Fi in every guest room.
- Ensures that each room has the coverage and speeds necessary to support not only guest-owned devices such as laptops, but also hotel-provided amenities such as smart TVs and gaming systems. Reliability and performance are key to maximizing those value-added services’ revenue and satisfaction.
Analytics and control of a Wi-Fi network as just as important as the bandwidth. Samsung Authentication Billing & Security (SABS) platform works with a hotel’s Wi-Fi network—regardless of vendor—to provide capabilities such as multiple pricing plans and flexible bandwidth allocation. SABS includes full, tight integration with the MICROS-Fidelio property management system toenable hotels to deliver tiered service based on device types, such as automatically identifying a guest’s streaming video dongle and offering HD-ready speed for an extra $5/day.
SABS also identifies each guest Wi-Fi device as it moves around the property. This feature enables unique capabilities such as subnetworks for groups of guests. For example, people attending a conference, for example, would always get a guaranteed amount of bandwidth in their rooms, meeting areas and other parts of the property.
The bottom line is that every hotel now needs fast, reliable, property-wide Wi-Fi to get and stay competitive and profitable. Focus on solutions that are not only enterprise-grade, but also designed to meet hospitality’s unique demands.