Hotel Wi-Fi: The Biggest Challenges and Recommended Solutions
By Jeremy Rock Principal & Founder, RockIT Group | May 06, 2012
Co-authored by Don O'Neal, President, O'Neal Communications
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 where video streaming, audio streaming and voice-over-IP are all competing for the same Internet pipe. It's not just for email and web surfing anymore. Wireless has also created new ways for hotels to connect with their guests to generate loyalty. Wi-Fi has become a standard amenity. It's becoming a determining factor on where guests choose to stay. But few guests would say they're happy with the current sign-up and security concerns of hotel Wi-Fi. With mobile media hitting the mainstream, hotels are eager to find affordable and non-disruptive solutions to meet guest demand for reliable, consistent in-building cellular coverage.
The following are some of the key considerations and game changers that Hoteliers need focus on to ensure that they meet or exceed the demands of their guests:
Challenge #1 - Weak cellular signal strength.
In many hotels, especially those in major urban areas, it is not unusual for guests and staff alike to have difficulty with voice communication when attempting to use their cellphone in a hotel. We have all had the experience of moving around our room trying to find a good spot to carry on a conversation, and in some cases, a good spot just can't be found. During conferences it is not unusual to see attendees going outside to try to find a location to receive a good signal. It is definitely a source of guest complaints. Many hotels that use cell phones for internal communications also provide two-way radios for those employees whose work is primarily in the lowest floors in order to assure good communication. The causes of weak signals are many and varied, e.g., building construction, the particular carrier network in an area, location of the person within the building, volume of simultaneous calls hitting the nearest cell site, distance from the nearest cell site, quality of the signal, metallic covering (thermal barrier) on windows, to name a few.
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