Connecting Dots: Managed Network Services Enhance Guest Experience and Boost Bottom Line

By David Hogan Executive Director of Major Accounts, Heartland Payment Systems | May 05, 2013

It goes without saying that network connectivity is critically important for hotels. After all, your operations - and your guest experience - rely on it. Affecting everything from your property management system (PMS) and payments processing to high speed Internet access (HSIA) and cellular service, your network is the central nervous system of your property. But as advances in technology impose increasing demands on your infrastructure, managing your network and ensuring connectivity is more challenging than ever.

That's in large part because as a society, we are more connected than ever. Consumer adoption and use of Internet-ready devices like smartphones and tablets in recent years has been nothing less than explosive. At the same time, there has been a mass migration of business technologies from offline to online and cloud environments. As these environmental factors converge, I would venture to say that network congestion is significantly higher now than it was just one year ago.

There's no question that we have entered a new technological era. So why are so many hoteliers still using the same network platforms and service providers that they always have? It's a costly mistake that we see all too frequently in various industries, including hospitality. As we connect the dots between a hotel's network, guest experience and profitability, you'll see just how the benefits of managed network services far outweigh the capital investment.

Keeping Your Guests Connected

Think about it. After a long day of travelling, your guests settle into their rooms. What's the first thing they do? Before they unpack, or even sit down, they try to get online. Whether it's business travelers anxiously connecting their laptops to respond to the day's emails, or vacationers using their tablets to find information on nearby attractions, connecting to the Internet is top of mind.

Offering Wi-Fi is no longer a differentiator but an expectation. And if your guests are not able to connect seamlessly to your network, you'll know about it. While nine times out of 10 connectivity issues stem from user error, they're an inconvenience nonetheless. The front desk staff may have the Wi-Fi password but be limited in their troubleshooting capabilities. They don't necessarily know the ins and outs of your network, nor should they. After all, you have IT professionals or partners for that task. But if they're anything like the IT pros who work in hotels that I know, they're probably extremely busy all the time.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.