With unlimited mobile data packages making 3, 4 and 5G more affordable when away from home, is Wi-Fi for hotels, restaurants, campsites, etc. still necessary? It would appear so. Since the end of the October half-term, we have had several enquiries from hospitality businesses that want to improve their Wi-Fi.
While free Wi-Fi in communal areas, like the reception, bar and lounge, may have been considered sufficient before, guests want full coverage in their rooms too...even their tents when it comes to a campsite. And in most hotels and restaurants, guests expect this service to be free; all part and parcel of the experience they enjoy at these establishments.
When the Wi-Fi service is not up to scratch, you can bet guests will seek out an internet connection to upload a scathing review onto a website like TripAdvisor. Here is an example I found today:
“I purchased Wi-Fi. Well, it only worked in reception for 5 minutes after a phone call to [the] help desk. In room, did not work at all. Family not happy.”
Reviews like this can seriously affect how others view a hospitality business. A poor review can put off potential guests and customers for good, which means you miss out on not just one booking, but the potential for multiple future bookings too.
Many hospitality businesses did purchase suitable Wi-Fi solutions several years ago, but even these may be causing issues now as they may not be compatible with modern devices and will be showing other signs of their age.
Older solutions will not be able to cope as well with a high density of devices or may not offer the coverage you require. They may also pose a security risk as if they are no longer receiving security updates from the manufacturer, then there will be holes that can be exploited by cyber criminals.
In terms of being compatible with modern devices, wireless networks now work on Wi-Fi 6 standards to meet the speeds and density requirements expected today. If you use modern devices with an older Wi-Fi solution, they will work at the older standards, so will be slow and frustratingly less effective.
In short, your Wi-Fi may not be as good as it used to be and will need updating, especially as we come out of a COVID-dominated way of living.
Hospitality businesses that have invested in cloud-based solutions or more handheld wireless devices to keep up with digital transformation or as part of their COVID response will already be putting extra pressure on their bandwidth and Wi-Fi, before even considering guest needs.
Remote working has also become mainstream. People want to know they can work anywhere, so hotels and hospitality businesses that offer interrupted Wi-Fi have an opportunity here. Whereas your guests may have stayed for just the weekend, they can extend their breaks if they are confident that the Wi-Fi will enable them to access remote desktops, attend video meetings, access email, etc. while enjoying your facilities when they are not working. Get the Wi-Fi right and a hospitality business should attract new guests through positive traveller reviews.
If you have already had complaints, then you know your Wi-Fi needs some attention. If you are unsure, test it. Take your mobile phone to every corner of your establishment at its busiest time...then you will know.
We carry out site surveys to ascertain the coverage and density needs of our Wi-Fi customers before recommending a solution. If you are considering upgrading your Wi-Fi during the off-season, please do not hesitate to contact me.