Travel demand has not slowed down – despite inflation, according to Tripadvisor’s “2022 Fall Travel Index.” In fact, nearly two-thirds of U.S. respondents say that they are planning a fall trip this year. Knowing that guests traveling is picking back up, now is the time to consider upgrades. Every impression is important whether it’s the first or 15th meeting.
If aging hardware fails – as it sometimes does – there is no time for hoteliers to wait for replacement equipment. Travelers expect connectivity to be on-demand and with sufficient bandwidth. Regardless of how perfect accommodations and the hotel service may be, if guests can’t get online, it can potentially ruin the experience and damage the hotel’s reputation.
But making upgrades might be easier said than done considering continued supply chain issues, a lingering labor shortage and strained budgets. Even if hotels can afford the upgrades, where’s the inventory? Some vendors are quoting lead times over a year to get key equipment such as wireless access points. The delays are predicted to continue causing problems into 2023 and will, even then, be an ongoing battle to fully resolve all of the global supply chain issues. If equipment is needed now, what options are available?
Multi-vendor, CAPEX-only purchasing was okay pre-COVID, but in today’s environment, where hoteliers must do a lot more with much less at an inflated price, it is far from efficient. Hotels are looking to source networking equipment (such as gateways, wireless access points, controllers and LAN switches) from a single supplier. In this business model, “single source” means more than just convenience; it means in-stock inventory, flexible pricing, minimized contract management, lower support costs and a healthier bottom line.
It’s within the “one-stop-shop” where hoteliers, service providers and vendors can truly be “better together.” All-for-one and one-for-all service delivery produces a better customer experience, and it simplifies the management and support of a property’s network. A fully integrated suite of tools makes deployment easy — from one to thousands of properties — and it delivers more flexibility, reliability, and scalability.
Taking those next steps
There are lots of considerations when working through the research process for making upgrades. As the tradeshow season builds up, consider this approach while having important discussions with potential new partners and vendors on the show floor.
- Partner with a hospitality-focused organization that understands the needs of hotels and guests and has a track record of reliability and longevity in the industry.
- Procure from a single source that has all network equipment on hand, from gateways and access points to controllers and LAN switches.
- Prepare for unforeseen failures in critical network infrastructure by implementing high-availability architecture, keeping onsite spares, and making sure the supplier or MSP can deliver zero lead time replacement units.
- Prevent equipment failures from happening in the future by practicing preventative maintenance and working with the supplier to proactively switch out equipment when it is nearing the end of its lifecycle.
- Protect the connected guest experience and the hotel’s reputation at all costs by ensuring sufficient bandwidth property-wide: guestrooms, meeting rooms, lobby, patio, pool, restaurant, golf course and more.
Don’t forget, in addition to a strong hotel Wi-Fi solution, it’s important to think about the other technology that comes into play. From mobile apps, to check-in kiosks, to in-room entertainment and casting, to digital voice assistants and other contactless technologies, the network powers the entire experience. Combine these new high-bandwidth demands with the simultaneous usage of IoT and Wi-Fi-enabled devices installed on property (e.g., HVAC monitoring, water temperature monitoring), upgrading to the latest broadband requirements, such as Wi-Fi 6, becomes even more critical.
This is a big investment for the future. As we move into the last part of the year, it’s all the new helpful contactless technologies, added efficiencies, aiding in staffing and loyalty-focused upgrades that will make positive experiences time after time.
About the Author
Linda Kahangi is the Chief Information and Operations Officer (CIOO) at Nomadix Inc., a technology provider in hospitality and multi-tenant industries. In her role, Kahangi ensures the business continues to deliver operational efficiencies, product reliability and security, and top-notch customer and partner experiences.
The original post appeared in Lodging Magazine.