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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.