By Riaan Graham, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a new trend in the hospitality industry – the rise of the connected traveler. Whether old or young, away for work or leisure, the demand for constant connectivity is increasingly present across all demographics – and meeting this demand is key to making them happy. For the hospitality industry, high quality, free Wi-Fi is now a must. Guests expect the same quality of Wi-Fi in their rooms as they have in their office or home.
Of course, if you think about tech trends you may be thinking of the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality or even robotics – but essential to hoteliers being able to capitalise on these new innovations is a fundamentally strong network; you wouldn’t try to install a pool or spa without getting the basic plumbing right. So, if you’re meeting the needs of tomorrow’s guest or today’s you need to get your Wi-Fi into shape, now!
Why no Wi-Fi?
So, what’s stopping hotels getting to the stage of good quality Wi-Fi? To begin with, hotels can be surprisingly hostile environments for Wi-Fi: you’ve got a lot of customers trying to connect to the network at once across multiple phones, tablets, and laptops. Add on top of this the large area that hotels typically cover, with multiple floors, indoor and outdoor areas and you’ve got a physically complex environment with a plethora of devices and technologies all interfering with the RF (radio frequency) signal, which is detrimental to connectivity.
If you don’t have good access your guests will let you know about it. Whether that’s on the reception desk, in their online reviews and ultimately in your profit margins. Wi-Fi isn’t just a tech issue anymore – it’s a business issue. Treat Wi-Fi like you treat hot water and good food. It’s a basic necessity for your guests and should be a basic investment for you.
Build on the basics
Wi-Fi is more than just a necessity though. It’s also a terrific business opportunity. It can become a core part of the services you offer to your guests. From allowing them to order food on the golf course, to booking spa services from their rooms, to easing the entire check-in process. Wi-Fi can become a fundamental and valuable part of your hotel’s infrastructure.
Your customers want their experience to be easy, and Wi-Fi can be the key to unlocking this. With customers spread out over the building, their phones and tablets can be the easiest way for you to talk to them, get feedback from them and ultimately keep them happy.
Expand into the future
There’s a myriad of new technology developing at rapid rates, all with different purposes, requirements and opportunities. However, fundamental to their implementation is connectivity. From IoT to robotics, devices must be able to talk to one another. Wi-Fi is the perfect gateway to facilitate this – and with it already widely installed across the industry it is an accessible technology which doesn’t require expensive commitment.
When hotels invest in good Wi-Fi they’re also future-proofing their business – this potential for future returns is a convincing argument for investing now in the technology that will let you meet the needs of future customers.
Happy Wi-Fi makes happy customers
Without a robust network infrastructure in place, hotels will struggle to keep their guests happy. Today’s consumers want to be offered carrier-class connectivity and performance wherever they are. Addressing the issues that impact connectivity by installing a network that can easily mitigate interference problems means customers can access new technologies and services hotels offer, enhancing the hospitality experience and creating loyal and happy customers. You wouldn’t skimp on plumbing and expect to get away with it and Wi-Fi is the same – the hospitality industry must take now to have happy customers today, tomorrow and well into the future.