“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
While this famous quote relates to human connectivity, the same paradigm can apply to hospitality where strong connections between guests, associates and experiences are created within the four walls of the hotel. There are both tangible and intangible experiences that create strong ties to keep guests coming back.
Let’s take a look at the small-to-mid scale hotels, especially those catered to extended-stays. These owners and associates are in a unique position to connect with guests who are families, workers assigned to remote, long-term job sites or visitors just passing through town. They all need and expect certain amenities, and by paying attention to important hospitality trends, hoteliers can build loyalty and a good reputation.
Robust Wi-Fi is a must-have
Efficient check-ins with front-desk computer systems or automated kiosks, streaming video content on the in-room TV, checking email and having Zoom meetings – all of these rely on reliable and fast Wi-Fi connectivity.
Layering on the multiple devices each guest brings into hotels every day, a sub-par internet connection can make or break who comes back. Regardless of their demographics: guests placed for long-term plumbing contracts, families displaced from their homes, or transient travelers who frequent the same route, they all come with the expectation of a solid Wi-Fi experience. At the end of the day, reliable and fast connectivity is essential for any profile of guest.
Key considerations for upgrading hotel networks
So if a hotel is looking to upgrade its network to satisfy this essential requirement, where should they start? Choosing Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure will best maximize your investment for the long-run. It will ensure faster speeds, more bandwidth available for more devices, and improved performance. This all leads to better experiences, higher ROI and fewer hiccups on the network. Plus, most of the devices logging onto the network already support Wi-Fi 6 technology.
What does network usage look like? Let’s assume that every guest brings two to three devices into the hotel. At 100 rooms, that’s 200 to 300 devices taking a piece of the network at any given time – amplified during peak usage. And just for fun, let’s do this math with the 3.5 million guests who stay at AAHOA member-owned hotels (We are proudly AAHOA members) each night: that’s 10.5 million devices that need access! Additionally, due to guest demand and reduction of staff, the hotel may be required to deploy additional IoT devices (e.g., HVAC monitoring, water temperature monitoring, check-in kiosks) and contactless technologies, which also need the wireless network infrastructure to support them.
Knowing the network has a lot of strain each day, hotels, even on the smaller side, can easily afford to build an enterprise-level infrastructure with a combo of access points, switches, controllers and bandwidth management gateways. This combination will ensure great Wi-Fi in every room, strong connectivity for housekeeping, sales and the front desk, and powerful support throughout the property, even for guests working at the breakfast buffet, in the lobby, or outside.
Consider a few important scenarios:
Scenario one: Evening internet usage peaks might be one of the most challenging scenarios to overcome. Everyone is trying to connect with work projects, stream video content and be online for personal usage after a long day. The Wi-Fi will become unusable without the proper network controls in place. This scenario will just continue to increase exponentially with TV casting, gaming and other high-bandwidth activities brought into the hotel.
Scenario two: A guest is using a small boardroom to host a meeting, and everyone around the conference table has to be online. AV teams also need to ensure the video stream and speaker in the meeting space is online and functional. These events provide great monetary opportunities, especially with offices being downsided and more companies hosting team events in hotels. But having the network controls in place to direct more bandwidth to these priority guests will be essential for a smooth experience.
Scenario three: A guest arrives at the hotel with four different devices. How do these guests get authenticated and securely connected without calling the front desk? Even after their smart watch, phone and tablet are connected, when the Wi-Fi on their laptop slows down, they will get frustrated and write a bad review online. You lose their future loyalty, not to mention the others who read that review and choose another place to stay. A reliable Wi-Fi network that can ensure easy and fast connectivity when it’s needed most will make happy, loyal guests.
Ready to make the upgrades? We have stock available now and can be a single source for procurement and support. Building a solid foundation of those “invisible threads” to power the connected experiences will make all the difference in guest satisfaction and loyalty.
This article originally appeared in Today’s Hotelier.
Ted Helvey is Chairman and CEO of Nomadix. A technology innovator with over three decades of demonstrated expertise and industry experience, Helvey oversees Nomadix by continuously seeking out new ways to help hotels, MDUs/MTUs, and enterprises improve customer satisfaction, maximize operational efficiencies, and increase revenue.