How to Maximize Bandwidth to Support Your Meetings Business

By John D. Robinson Director of Sales, North America, Aptilo Networks | September 04, 2016

Hotels and chains are looking to meet the rising demand for more bandwidth as they ramp up their hotel group meetings business. Throughout the industry, hotels are upgrading ( or have recently upgraded ) their Wi-Fi to serve in-room guests. Now that these properties are growing their group meetings business, they’re finding that their existing bandwidth is no longer sufficient.

Problems can arise when your Wi-Fi service becomes stretched too thin. This can diminish your competitive advantage and even lose business. On a broader level, it can also damage your branding because, let’s face it, few things are more frustrating that attending a conference with spotty, unreliable Wi-Fi.

This article will address how Wi-Fi can help you grow your group meetings business, and best practices in deploying. How can hotels maximize bandwidth while minimizing costs, perhaps even while preserving current infrastructure investments?

Why Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi has been a boon to the lodgings part of the hotel business. This growth can be attributed to the increasing number of smartphones and other devices that are Wi-Fi-enabled. Most if not every guest has a Wi-Fi device, and the majority of these users have more than one device. Think of it: a typical business guest has a smartphone with Wi-Fi, a laptop with Wi-Fi, perhaps a tablet computer such as an iPad ( with Wi-Fi ), and now with the growth of the Internet of Things ( IoT ) trend there are smartwatches with Wi-Fi and other devices not traditionally associated with wireless connectivity. The result has been an increased reliance on these devices as guests manage their stay.

This is a great thing. Guests can check in on their own using, for example, their smartphone, making what were once stopping points in the guest experience a breeze. Wi-Fi has decreased user friction, a term that describes the amount of friction, or work, that a user needs to deal with in order to complete a task. Hotels have been using technology to decrease user friction for a long time – I remember the first time I checked out using the hotel channel on the television, and I thought, wow, this is a great idea. It saved me time. It also saved the hotel time and money. In that way, hotels have been a test bed for technology as a means of streamlining user process for years.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.