3 Wi-Fi Challenges Hotels Face and How to Overcome Them
For hotel guests, free WiFi is the most desired feature. However, hotels and hoteliers are still struggling to provide a gratifying internet experience. Unlike the old days, Wi-Fi in hotels has become a necessity. Hoteliers must look at Wi-Fi as a platform through which guests can be connected. Rather than simply providing an internet connection, hoteliers must consider Wi-Fi to dynamically identify and engage guests.
As a number of conventional processes such as customer preferences, check-in, check-out, etc., are moving to the online helm, it is imperative that hoteliers leverage their Wi-Fi network to enhance guest engagement. Here are a few challenges that hoteliers face and ways to address them:
Challenge #1: Offering Slow Wi-Fi
Until a decade ago, offering Wi-Fi was considered a luxury. Now it is a necessity. Initially when Wi-Fi was being offered, guests hardly complained about the slow internet speeds. Eventually when slow Wi-Fi was a concern for hoteliers, they managed to address the problem by throwing more bandwidth into the mix. Currently, however, with guests having a minimum of three devices that are bandwidth hungry, hotels and hoteliers are having to constantly upgrade their Wi-Fi infrastructure to address the insatiable demand.
Setting up a Wi-Fi network that provides guests with great internet speed is not cheap. Simultaneously, guests’ willingness to pay for Wi-Fi has gone down tremendously. Therefore, the need for hoteliers and hotels to properly manage their Wi-Fi network performance and optimize the bandwidth has rapidly become critical.
Hoteliers look to convert online travel agency guests into customers who are loyal. Studies have proven that business travelers tend to look for hotels that provide free Wi-Fi. And if a hotel has a few reviews about it bad Wi-Fi network, the chances of that hotel to get more business decreases. The risks of not being able to deliver a satisfying Wi-Fi experience are higher than what they were a few years ago. Given that the percentage of millennials visiting hotel is increasingly drastically, a handful of negative reviews about a hotel’s Wi-Fi can lead to a dip in customer loyalty. Not just Wi-Fi, if customers have a bad technology experience, chances of them returning are low.
We are at booth #421 at TibalNet’s 18th Annual Conference & Tradeshow, at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa, Arizona – during Nov 6-9, 2017
Challenge #2: Wi-Fi is Hard to Monetize
Hoteliers need to move away from the conventional thought process they have towards Wi-Fi. They should not see it as just an IT function. They should consider it to be a business asset. There have been successful Wi-Fi implementations in other industries such as retail, technology, etc. Hoteliers should consider Wi-Fi to be a crucial part of their loyalty strategy.
Use Wi-Fi to:
- Create targeted promotions
- Create revenue opportunities by tying up with local services
Additionally, hoteliers can control which of their guests get a little or complete internet access. For example, if a hotel consistently hosts business conferences, it can provide free Wi-Fi for the first hour and then charge per hour. While doing this, hotels can mention that hotel guests enjoy free WiFi service during their stay. Similarly, hotels can give loyal guests greater bandwidth for their loyalty. Studies have proven that, given a choice guests will choose a higher tier of internet service.
Challenge #3: Managing Guest Wi-Fi is Expensive
Most hoteliers think delivering and maintaining an exceptional guest Wi-Fi experience is expensive. But what they forget is that by providing a great Wi-Fi experience, hoteliers can convert OTA travelers into loyal ones. Providing a great Wi-Fi experience is, in terms of cost, similar to restocking guest rooms with shampoo. It is that simple. And, in our experience, we have witnessed guests returning to a hotel for the exemplary Wi-Fi service, but not the shampoo.
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