Generating Revenue From In-room Wi-Fi

By Jason Guest Account Manager, Americas, Aptilo Networks | May 20, 2012

Wireless Internet is changing the way business gets done in the hotel industry. There's a tremendous demand for wireless access - for overnight guests and even for conferences and trade shows. It's not just for email and Web surfing anymore. Video streaming, audio streaming and voice-over-IP are all competing for the same Internet pipe. This is compounded by the growing trend for trade shows and conferences to offer high-speed wireless data service to their attendees, which can slow Internet traffic to a crawl.

This demand means opportunities for new revenue streams. Wireless has also created new ways for hotels to connect with their guests to generate loyalty.

Wireless Now a "Must-Have"

Offering in-room Wi-Fi is becoming a "must-have" for the hospitality industry. In the past guests would expect a hardline T-1 connection or cable (some hotels charge for the cable). This quickly became the standard. Now, however, with iPads, wirelessly enabled smartphones and other devices in every businessperson's briefcase, pocket or pocketbook, the ability to jump onto a Wi-Fi connection in your room is quickly becoming the new expectation and the new standard. Many hotels tout in-room Wi-Fi in their marketing to compete for business.

Guests are using in-room Wi-Fi for more than just email. Today - in a shift that's far different than, say, even five years ago - guests expect to be able to download movies onto their laptop, iPad or iPhone. They may be using a streaming video service such as Netflix or Hulu to watch their favorite flick or TV show, or watching videos on YouTube. They may be downloading music for the plane ride home, or just emailing very large PowerPoint files among colleagues.

Wi-Fi for Meetings and Conventions

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.