Ninety-two percent of hotel guests say their top consideration for choosing one hotel or another is reliable, secure and high-speed Wi-Fi. The Hospitality Technology 2023 Lodging Study also found that guests would like to control the guest room with technology (62%), use an in-room voice assistant (51%), and self-service check-in (52%), along with the other technology features hotels are adopting. All of these technology enhancements rely on the quality of the network, and 2024 should be the year to upgrade infrastructure to meet these new requirements for not only a better guest experience but also for more efficient operations.
Here are some key hotel connectivity considerations to take into account.
What should hotels consider when upgrading their digital infrastructure?
Hoteliers should consider upgrading their digital infrastructure in the following order (but in a phased approach):
- Wi-Fi in public areas and conference spaces with the latest available Wi-Fi standard equipment
- Wi-Fi in the guest rooms and back office with the latest available Wi-Fi standard equipment
- Upgrade the property LAN infrastructure in public areas and conference spaces or sooner if the existing switches and routers cannot support the bandwidth required by the APs
- Upgrade WAN internet bandwidth
In addition, if the hotel has not yet implemented SD-WAN, they should plan on migrating to this technology in the near future.
Why is it important to be proactive versus reactive with a hotel’s digital infrastructure?
It is important to plan on upgrading the digital infrastructure on a regular basis in a phased approach to keep up with the increasing need for wireless connectivity of guest devices and property IoT devices. I would recommend that you plan on upgrading the wireless infrastructure and WAN every three years, and the switches and firewall on an as-needed basis.
Are supply chain issues still affecting hoteliers’ upgrade plans? Do they need to plan for delays in upgrades for such things as access points?
The supply chain shortages are affecting hotels less than they were in the last two years, but many vendors are still having issues getting the components for the networking equipment. If a hotel continues to experience challenges in acquiring networking equipment then it should modify its standards to purchase equipment from a different vendor. Hotels should not purchase Wi-Fi access points from more than one vendor because the management of those various APs will be difficult and time-consuming. Although not as much an issue for switches, it’s still recommended that they purchase all of the switches from the same vendor.
Are there any other issues that could affect hoteliers’ plans to upgrade their infrastructure?
Since there continues to be an industry-wide staffing shortage, many hotels are deploying automation products to help support the guests. Once again, Wi-Fi may be critical for these products to work properly, and therefore, it is important to upgrade the wireless technology in those locations where these applications are being deployed.
Knowing that hotel connectivity and Wi-Fi can make or break guest loyalty and also deter guests from booking in the first place, now is the time to upgrade the network. If you have questions, our team is happy to assist. Anything else top-of-mind that you’d like for me to cover on the blog this year, let me know on LinkedIn.
Richard Wagner is Director of Certification and Compliance at Nomadix.