Hotel WiFi Strategy- How To Maximise Revenue & Gain Great Customer Reviews
Previously Vidzone has looked at the ways in which optimising WiFi can affect the speed and efficiency of the operation of a business. This blog will focus on the hotel industry where I have experience using my knowledge to help business owners improve their infrastructure & services. Offering WiFi to guests provides a unique set of challenges and opportunities, this blog will look at determining and configuring the correct hotel WiFi strategy and the potential brand and marketing implications.
With the decision to charge for Wi-Fi becoming increasingly unpopular amongst guests there is a conflict between the need to raise revenues to cover costs and the need to provide a Wi-Fi solution that meets customer expectations.
Hotel WiFi A Growing Necessity
The hotel WiFi cliché is a slow and expensive connection that causes anger and frustration amongst guests struggling to complete low volume data tasks; even when paying for the privilege in some establishments.
The industry is changing and access to reliable and reasonably fast WiFi during their stay is now seen as an essential service by guests. A report by Forrester showed that above all other amenities, customers demanded wireless access in their hotel room. More than a third of business customers asked in this report stated they would not stay in a hotel that does not have WiFi access.
The majority of hotels now provide some kind of WiFi provision, however with demand for connectivity, and data demands, growing finding the right solution is increasingly important.
Challenges Of Providing A Reliable WiFi Service
Determining the most effective WiFi configuration for a hotel depends on a number of different factors. These include expected peak data usage, hotel size and layout and the density of wireless connectivity in the area.
The service expectations can also vary dependent on the demographics of hotel guests. Business users are more likely to accept WiFi charges but in addition expect a reliable, or ‘premium rate’, service that can facilitate voice over IP (VoIP) calls, or the ability to run conferencing services across the connection they receive. For guests of hotels that largely cater to tourists the expectations for a high connection speed may be lower but there are likely to be users that require streaming capacity for entertainment.
This means that the set up for a small one level rural hotel with a handful of devices accessing the network at any one time will be very different from a large multi floor hotel with hundreds of potential users.
Managing data demands during peak usage periods is essential to ensure consistent service across access nodes. Whilst it is possible to limit upload and download speeds for users. This can cause frustration for those looking to perform essential business tasks such as VoIP calls which require a consistent and specific data rate in both directions of communication.
Having an expert to review your current WiFi configuration can make a real difference to the performance of the network and the experience of guests.
I am able to use my expertise to analyse the network architecture, survey what is currently in place and find ways to improve the capability and range of your wireless network.
Dynamic Hotel WiFi Pricing Strategies
Having set up a high quality WiFi within a hotel, the owner now has to decide whether to charge guests for the service.
Increased coverage of free WiFi networks grows decreasing tolerance to paid services, particularly those that are slow or unreliable, therefore an ineffective hotel WiFi strategy can affect reputation and ultimately sales.
One solution to providing WiFi whilst providing a high class service and generating revenue is to provide a two tier service. All guests would have access to a free basic service that will allow general browsing and checking of emails. Guests would then have the option to upgrade to a higher connection speed that would support VoIP calls, video streaming and other activities that require a high speed connection.
This can be facilitated and managed using the same WiFi access points throughout the building and adding in a gateway controller to assign connectivity profiles based on the choices made by each guest. These choices will reflect their individual requirements; and so ensuring that each choice is supplied efficiently and effectively will go a long way to providing customer satisfaction.
This option is a win-win for hotel operators as it allows all customers to have access to WiFi increasing customer satisfaction while keeping a revenue channel open for business customers or those that want a high quality service.
It should also not be forgotten that marketing opportunities exist by keeping in touch with those customers who register for a ‘premium rate’ service. This is a topic that will be explored further in another blog.
In the post recession hotel industry WiFi is an important part of the service offering, an effective hotel WiFi strategy for pricing and implementation can have a positive impact on the revenue and reputation of a hotel.
If you run a hotel and are unsure if your current set up is right for your business, get in contact and we can discuss how a review of your WiFi set up can benefit your business.
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