Guest Wi-Fi in the Cloud for Hotels

By Johan Terve Vice President Marketing, Aptilo Networks | January 14, 2018

According to TripAdvisor's TripBarometer 2016, some 88% of hoteliers provide free Wi-Fi. For them the new currency is customer loyalty, customer insights and engagement. This means that the most crucial functions of your guest Wi-Fi service go far beyond the Wi-Fi technology as such.

Did you know that 65% of hotel guests connect to Wi-Fi within seven minutes of arrival? This is just how addicted we are, according to a survey done by the English hotelier Roomzzz. And, nine out of ten hotel guests expect the Wi-Fi to be free.

So, it is no longer enough to only provide free Wi-Fi to your guests. The Wi-Fi has to be great. Most people are spoiled with blisteringly fast Wi-Fi in their homes. Hoteliers have to deliver an excellent home-away-from-home experience. But, do they? According to Aptilo's guest Wi-Fi survey, only 35% of guests are satisfied with the Wi-Fi service in hotels globally (US 33% and Europe 44%). There is room for improvement.

More than half of your potential guests read online reviews and 80% of them say they would never return if they had a bad technology experience. Wi-Fi has become a hotel's #1 strategic asset.

The foundation of a good guest Wi-Fi service is a well-planned and high-performance Wi-Fi network with sufficient capacity to handle the massive amounts of traffic your guests will require to access the internet. Given that 25% of your guests ignore regular TV (linear broadcast) and use Wi-Fi instead to stream their favorite shows, this backhaul capacity can never be too high.

Is it impossible to achieve a respectable return on your investment (ROI) when delivering a high-quality guest Wi-Fi service for free? Yes, if you focus only on the Wi-Fi technology. Then Wi-Fi will be nothing but a necessary cost. What you need is to go beyond the technology focus and reap all the indirect benefits a guest Wi-Fi service brings with better customer loyalty, accurate customer insights and strong engagement.

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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.