Many years ago when booking a holiday you would tend to contact the hotel reception to ask if they provided WiFi. Nowadays you expect it, and you expect the WiFi to be fast and reliable. CLEVERNET understands that good hospitality WiFi is a must, and a customer's experience at the hotel or cafe depends on it.
Good WiFi is an expectation
Think about the steps you go through when you go on holiday somewhere where you know the WiFi will be non existent, for example; when you go camping you know there is going to be limited power and probably no WiFi so you plan for that. You bring along pre charged power banks, four strip plugs to charge multiple devices at the same time and also a data dongle or 4G modem. This is because you know you cannot rely on WiFi in the area.
When you go to a hotel and it says there is Free WiFi you don't prepare anything. You just show up and expect it to work. When it doesn’t you’re left frustrated, behind on work or worse still, your family is complaining!
If you are searching for an Airbnb, for example, and WiFi isn't available then you either come prepared, or you don’t book it at all.
What problems do the hospitality sector run into with regards to WiFi?
As a consumer, if a hotel or cafe advertises that they provide WiFi and you arrive and it is not available or there is an issue with the reliability then chances are that you will not go back. Lack of WiFi can hinder repeat custom, and word of mouth spreads, fast.
Hospitality also needs to consider the login process for their WiFi. The key is to make it easy for customers to sign up and use. This ease of access will make a powerful impression on the clients. Sure, you might want to capture some information like an email address or phone number for the business direct marketing list but having several mandatory fields that can take a long time to fill out. Especially as a guest at a hotel with a large family, there could be several devices to set up and it will lead to frustration if the sign-up process takes longer than expected. If guests become agitated at the login requirements they will just disregard it.
How does the hospitality sector know if their WiFi is good?
Quite a few hotel owners for example don’t know how their WiFi performs as they hear about it whereas reception staff will always know as they hear directly from the guests. CLEVERNET recommends carrying out a WiFi audit researching such points as:
● Has the hotel investigated where the black spots are?
● Where does the WiFi preform best?
● Is there certain times of the day that complaints happen most, or areas of the property that always complain?
These points are probably not an issue until they arise and by then it is too late, the customer experience is tarnished.
One quick fix hotel owners always go to, is to order more or faster broadband however this will not always be adequate. Faster doesn't always equate to better. Getting WiFi right is much more complex than that.
3 Fundamentals of Good WiFi
1. The pipe coming in. Think of your WiFi network as a plumbing system. The flow of data is always limited by the smallest pipe. Your internet connection like a pipe of water coming into your building, your Wi-Fi access points and switches are your internal plumbing. If your Internet is slow, adding a faster internet connection into the building won’t improve your internal plumbing.
2. The number of WiFi access points. Poor WiFi coverage can cause internet drops and slow connections, there needs to be enough access points to cover your building or area, however not too many that they will be fighting with each other and causing conflicts in the airspace.
3. Capacity to cover the area. Once you have the pipe coming in right and your coverage is sorted properly, the last part of the puzzle is to ensure you have enough capacity where and when you need it. Many guests now are coming to hotels with 4 or 5 connected devices, this means for a couple staying in a hotel bedroom there could be 10 devices trying to get online, much more in a family room. Having WiFi coverage in the bedroom won’t help if your WiFi network does not have the capacity to carry this number of devices in a small area.
Who do people ring when they have a problem?
Most B2B and IT service desks close at night however this is exactly when hotels will need support the most. Our CLEVERNET Monitoring Centre operates 24/7 so we are always on hand. You can contact us by phone, email, WhatsApp, web chat etc - however you want to talk to us, we are here.
Over 90% of the calls we get about WiFi issues are not down to the network at all, but instead are guest device related, things like corporate laptop issues or travellers with international settings can be all too common a problem. Most IT providers will only provide support to the WiFi hardware and communicate with the client, whereas we will speak to and support the end user, the guest in the bedroom that is having the issue.
Why a managed WiFi provider?
CLEVERNET knows that WiFi is ever-evolving. Especially in a high demand area like a hotel where you have a new set of customers every single day. WiFi networks need to evolve and change as time goes on and this is why it is important to work with a company that both understands hotels and is constantly monitoring the health and performance of your WiFi network.
How do CLEVERNET use a WiFi Audit as the solution to bad WiFi?
These are a summary of steps taken by CLEVERNET when conducting an in-depth audit of the WiFi system used on the business premises.
1. Talk to staff on reception and the maintenance team - what is the biggest complaint you get on check out? Is it WiFi? Who complains most - business or leisure clients?
2. General walk around of the building - we will check our own devices on the WiFi and check for access points, cables
3. Deeper dive - We will use a spectrum analyser in rooms and it will be able to identify where the placement of the access points are and what could potentially block the signal. They must be in the right spot so the showers or mirrors don't block that. We check the WiFi in the bathroom, bedroom, the windows and the reception.
4. We look at the existing network setup that they have. What's there, what hardware is there, how is it used and set up etc. Can the hardware be reused if it is good enough to cut costs for the hotel? Can the cable runs be used again? The capacity of the internet coming into the building - can it be better? Sometimes faster isn't always better, you need stability and analogue is best for that. A poor provider can provide poor broadband. Are the support and maintenance services open at night as that is when most issues arise?
The outcome for the client and the business
If the WiFi in the hospitality sector such as a hotel or cafe is managed properly nobody will be talking about it. That is what you want as people expect it to be good regardless. Repeat custom, especially from business travellers will be key as they tend to stay at a location that they know and like. Capturing the data through WiFi allows you to expand on your marketing as you collect email addresses on arrival.
Get people online quickly, that is what they want. Make it easy to get onto the WiFi by removing the need for a password and only asking for an email address in exchange. The guest wins with quick access and the hotelier wins with a contact for follow up marketing.
Another under-utilised marketing asset is the name of the WiFi network - for example, a hotel or restaurant could highlight a special offer via the WiFi name, ‘2 for 1 Chicken Wings at Bob’s Hotel’ for example. If your hotel faces a large car park, beach or busy street you can use external access points to broadcast this message far and wide to attract more custom.
People fear the cost of replacing or upgrading WiFi but it doesn't have to be that way. CLEVERNET will utilise much of the hardware that you have, where possible to keep costs down. We will price an upgrade of the network for a business so there are no surprises. With regards to broadband, we will use the best quality internet connection in the area that scores high on both cost and capacity.
Don’t let bad WiFi slow your business down. If you feel you could benefit from better WiFi services get in touch with one of our fully qualified engineers to find out more.