Guest Wi-Fi is just the beginning of how an enterprise-grade system can transform the experiences hotel guests and staff can benefit from.
Robust, secure Wi-Fi helps build greater brand and customer loyalty, increasing revenue, improving safety, and delivering new financial benefits. It maximizes technology investments, which is good news at any time, but especially today—and especially when 82% of Americans believe hotel Wi-Fi should be free.
As the hospitality industry addresses money lost during the pandemic, staffing challenges, and nontraditional competitors, the pressure to deliver is higher. About 50% of travelers expect hotel Wi-Fi to be better than it was pre-pandemic.
That’s partly because guests think hotel Wi-Fi will be as fast and reliable as it is at home. Meeting expectations and leveraging this infrastructure to create safe environments, smart spaces, and hybrid workspaces is a win for all. Consistent service across hotel sites also helps hospitality businesses compete against competitors like Airbnb, as individual homeowners may not provide the same services as hotel brands.
In addition to empowering guests to work and play, Wi-Fi supports the devices and APIs hotels can use to serve, protect, and delight guests and employees.
Setting the scene
IT leaders help visitors feel at home by ensuring Wi-Fi technologies support popular amenities like smart TVs and streaming services, so guests can easily access content via smartphone or tablet.
Using an app over Wi-Fi, guests can also control in-room technologies like thermostats and blinds and communicate directly with the front desk and restaurant. These capabilities enrich the guest experience, streamline communication, and augment staffing.
Similarly, hotels can replace the paper fire-route information traditionally placed on room doors with digital signage. In addition to providing current emergency routes, hotels can feature ads from nearby attractions.
Keep it clean
Cleanliness and safety are guests’ priorities in choosing a hotel, topped only by price. Wi-Fi can eliminate some manual housekeeping tasks, which can help hotels address staffing shortfalls.
For example, hotels can use sensors to notify management when rooms have been cleaned. Sensors also monitor population density in conference rooms so organizers will meet fire rules or social distancing protocols.
Likewise, sensors give real-time visibility into temperature, humidity, leaks, and more to help protect laundry and boiler rooms and areas prone to water damage.
Rather than installing a separate system for staff safety, hotels can triangulate employees’ locations with a Bluetooth® beacon on employee badges, which then use Wi-Fi and access points to communicate.
Hotels can roll out the virtual red carpet early for premiere guests.
Smart cameras deployed for security can include license plate-reading software that alerts management when a high-value guest enters the grounds. Managers can greet these individuals by name to underscore their appreciation.
Using Bluetooth® Low Energy with mobile application integration, hotel staff use mobile devices to connect to technologies like:
- Reservation and property management software
- Guest keyless entry systems
- Point-of-sale systems
Hotels with multiple Wi-Fi connectivity speeds and services can offer the fastest speeds at discounted or complementary rates to highest-tier members, while charging fees to lower-tier or nonmembers. Virgin Hotels Chicago, for example, uses a branded Wi-Fi portal to give fast access and collect guest data.
There are novel opportunities, too. Some hotels target a new category, “bleisure” customers, who are encouraged to lengthen stays or start stays mid-week. Indeed, 77% of remote workers would consider a work-from-hotel subscription.
Wi-Fi security is critical if hotels want to target remote or hybrid employees.
In 2020, 86% of organizations suffered at least one user trying to connect to a phishing site and 70% had at least one user served malicious browser ads. A future-proof Wi-Fi infrastructure addresses security by instantly detecting interference, vulnerabilities, and attacks across all channels.
Hotels can use the smart cameras and sensors installed for security to get insight into how people use facilities and spaces.
As sensors analyze traffic flow for efficiency and maximization of resources, data improves personalization and customization of everything from greetings to services.
Take IT outside
Extending Wi-Fi into the grounds also extends the ability to serve guests. Some hotels have grown outside events, equipping servers with tablets that connect to the point-of-sale system.
It is a challenging time of great opportunity for the hospitality industry. High-speed, secure Wi-Fi empowers hotels to surpass guests’ expectations and delight them with experiences. Wi-Fi infrastructure does more than connect guests to work and home: it connects hospitality businesses to new opportunities for increased loyalty, incremental services, and profits.