Guest Wi-Fi in the Cloud for Hotels

By Johan Terve Vice President Marketing, Aptilo Networks | January 14, 2018

According to TripAdvisor's TripBarometer 2016, some 88% of hoteliers provide free Wi-Fi. For them the new currency is customer loyalty, customer insights and engagement. This means that the most crucial functions of your guest Wi-Fi service go far beyond the Wi-Fi technology as such.

Did you know that 65% of hotel guests connect to Wi-Fi within seven minutes of arrival? This is just how addicted we are, according to a survey done by the English hotelier Roomzzz. And, nine out of ten hotel guests expect the Wi-Fi to be free.

So, it is no longer enough to only provide free Wi-Fi to your guests. The Wi-Fi has to be great. Most people are spoiled with blisteringly fast Wi-Fi in their homes. Hoteliers have to deliver an excellent home-away-from-home experience. But, do they? According to Aptilo's guest Wi-Fi survey, only 35% of guests are satisfied with the Wi-Fi service in hotels globally (US 33% and Europe 44%). There is room for improvement.

More than half of your potential guests read online reviews and 80% of them say they would never return if they had a bad technology experience. Wi-Fi has become a hotel's #1 strategic asset.

The foundation of a good guest Wi-Fi service is a well-planned and high-performance Wi-Fi network with sufficient capacity to handle the massive amounts of traffic your guests will require to access the internet. Given that 25% of your guests ignore regular TV (linear broadcast) and use Wi-Fi instead to stream their favorite shows, this backhaul capacity can never be too high.

Is it impossible to achieve a respectable return on your investment (ROI) when delivering a high-quality guest Wi-Fi service for free? Yes, if you focus only on the Wi-Fi technology. Then Wi-Fi will be nothing but a necessary cost. What you need is to go beyond the technology focus and reap all the indirect benefits a guest Wi-Fi service brings with better customer loyalty, accurate customer insights and strong engagement.


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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.