Hotel Wi-Fi Evolution – What Does It Mean To IoT?

By Tony Heung Senior Director Global Product Management, Exceptional Innovation | January 21, 2018

In the past ten years, hotel guests have changed from using heavy laptops to connect to Wi-Fi using 802.11b/g with roughly 12Mbps practical throughput to ten years later using lightweight mobile and large screen tablets to connect to Wi-Fi using 802.11ac with the possible reach of 1Gbps throughput.  Many readers may not realize the iPad was not even launched until seven years ago on April 3, 2010.

Traditional Wi-Fi Design

Traditionally    Wi-Fi   Access    Points    (WAP) were installed in the guest floor corridor and one WAP would service six to eight guest rooms with some coverage gaps.  It was based on the assumption that guests would bring just one Wi-Fi device which is the laptop making the desk area in the room mandatory.  Today's business travellers bring on average three Wi-Fi devices, including a laptop (some may have already dropped it), tablet and smartphone.  And more importantly the location of where guests will use Wi-Fi is now everywhere and anywhere within the hotel property.

Ten years ago, internet was mostly used in one direction, i.e.: downloading, as all the network traffic was pulling down from static websites but not much for uploading.  Today the usage pattern has shifted since the introduction of Web 2.0 and the popularity of social networking and video streaming sites.  The upload and download network traffic ratio used to be 1:10 but is now getting closer to 1:1 in some hotel networks.

It is obvious that a ten-year old Wi-Fi network will not fit today's needs, so how can you foresee the Wi-Fi network you are installing today will not be obsolete in ten years?  

Today and Future Use of Wi-Fi Network

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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.