Un-Wiring Your Meeting Rooms
By Jason Guest Account Manager, Americas, Aptilo Networks | July 21, 2013
Meeting and conference rooms are an untapped source of revenue for hotels when it comes to wireless. Until now, the big tech trend in the hospitality sector has been in-room wireless, catering to the increasing numbers of guests using wirelessly-enabled tablets, smartphones, gaming devices and of course laptops. In response, hotels have been offering free or premium wireless access, and it's been a powerful competitive differentiator as well as a means of generating new revenue. Guests have embraced this wireless access. For some power travelers (and even families), a hotel that doesn't offer fast wireless is just something they won't even consider.
Wireless has now moved to the meeting room, and as a company that has served hundreds of hotels and hotel chains, we at Aptilo anticipate conference room adoption of wireless will take the same track as guest Internet access: while at first it will be a way to stand out from competitors, soon guests will come to expect wireless in their meeting facilities. And that wireless has to perform well – fast Internet speeds, easy to access, simple login (no multiple logins) no matter how many devices one user brings with them, basically a great user experience.
This is good news for the hospitality industry, as unwiring your meeting rooms can create new revenue streams, boost your brand and give you a competitive edge.
Understand How Wireless will Be Used
Before you implement wireless for your meeting rooms, review what your needs are based on your facility and your typical meeting room customer. Do you have several meeting rooms in a single facility? Do you manage a large exhibition hall? Do you currently have wireless available for your in-room guests and, if so, is it possible to share that bandwidth or do you need more to accommodate the conference center?
Another question to consider is this: how accessible is wireless from the convention facilities or meeting rooms? For example, one of Aptilo's hospitality customers owns a large hotel that had great wireless coverage. Their convention center is situated behind the hotel, in a virtual wireless "dead zone." The facility manager noticed this issue once he realized that many of their business guests were leaving the convention hall to use their phones, frustrated in their search for a wireless signal. For this customer, the ability to implement a Wi-Fi hotspot dedicated to the convention center provided much-needed relief for guests, and had the effect of keeping them in the convention facility for a longer period of time, participating in the meetings rather that running in and out to check email or return an urgent phone call.