Your hotel’s WiFi network is a crucial part of your guests’ experience.
The hotel marketing experts at Revinate dug through over 53 million hotel reviews on sites like Yelp! and proprietary customer data from the hospitality industry. What they found was astonishing: internet-related reviews have a much lower overall score than those that don’t mention WiFi at all.
It’s clear that your network can make or break your reputation with hotel guests.
The following strategies will help you plan for network upgrades, get buy-in from key decision makers and improve the guest experience.
Begin with a WiFi audit
In order to know where you’re going, you need to have a plan to get there. Audits are the starting point for every WiFi service upgrade plan. Gather information about your current hardware, software, security policy, and other applicable information.
This is quantitative information that can be measured. For example, network speed includes several measurements including upload speed (GB per second) and download speed (GB per second).
Protocols and policies, however, will not have specific measurements but should be well-documented.
An audit takes a look at your current WiFi network setup, including:
- Number of routers/access points (also their age and model numbers)
- Number of firewalls
- Cabling type (copper, T1, etc.)
- Hard-wired connections (for desktop computers, access points)
- Network speed
- Network management and security protocols
- Current IT staff and personnel
Solicit feedback from guests and staff through surveys
Members of your loyalty programs, especially business travelers, are the best choice. Create a quick survey for guests to answer via email to gain qualitative insights. You can offer an incentive for guests to complete the survey, such as a discount or a free in-room movie rental.
Sample guest survey questions:
- How satisfied were you overall with your room’s internet service?
- How reliable did was your internet connection during your stay?
- Do you prefer free or fee-based WiFi for faster speeds?
- Were you using the internet for browsing and email, or were you streaming movies or games?
- Was the internet speed satisfactory? Why or why not?
- Did the quality of your internet service affect your future plans to stay here? Why or why not?
In addition to surveying your customers, in-house services can also provide valuable insights into how guests feel about WiFi quality as well.
Sample guest services (staff) survey questions:
- Do guests frequently complain about or compliment the hotel WiFi network? What do they say?
- Do you feel our current WiFi network is sufficient to meet customer expectations?
- Do you feel the technology available for you to do your job is sufficient? Why or why not?
- What internet services have customers asked for that we are unable to provide
The qualitative information gathered from guests and staff will help you put together a compelling business case to get the money you need to upgrade.
Consult with a WiFi design expert
Once you’ve gathered information about your current WiFi network, it’s time to consult an expert. Even if your hotel has a vast amount of resources and top-notch IT talent, sometimes it’s better to consult with a company that specializes in managed WiFi solutions for hotels, including best practices and installation strategies.
Before you can put together a business case for executives, managed WiFi experts will provide you with a proposal that includes a quote.
Create a compelling business case for C-level execs
The final step in network upgrade prep is to prepare a business case for management. This is where you pull all the information you’ve been gathering in the previous three steps.
The business case will prove to the C-suite why upgrading your hotel WiFi is necessary. (HINT: The more closely you can show the relationship between WiFi services and hotel revenue, the more likely you will be to get the green light to get started.)
Depending on the size of your hotel, this business case can be formal or informal. Here is the information you should include:
- A summary of your findings from the network audit
- Customer data about why they are unhappy with current WiFi and how it affects their view of the hotel (the worse, the better)
- An overview of your closest competitors and how your WiFi measures up to theirs
- Recommendations from managed WiFi services for upgrading your current network, including budget and timeframe
- Financial projections on how to recoup the money spent for upgrades, potential new revenue sources from upgraded services (streaming movies, gaming, etc.)
- Three compelling reasons why upgraded WiFi is crucial to the hotel’s reputation and future revenue
In order to win your case, you must directly tie hotel WiFi services to revenue. Many decision makers will not understand the connection. By providing evidence using your own data and pointing them to published studies and reports that verify your findings, it will be easy to win them over.
Wrapping it up
Upgrading your hotel’s WiFi network is not a decision to be taken lightly. By taking your time to gather the necessary data (like bandwidth consumption or router equipment health) and provide a stellar presentation to management, you’ll be able to secure the budget necessary to create a network that meets the ever-evolving requirements of your guests.
Prove to management that WiFi is directly tied to revenue, and you’ll be on your way to creating the hotel of the future today.
- A high percentage of low scores from hotel reviews are related to WiFi
- Create a plan to secure buy-in from senior execs for WiFi upgrades
- WiFi quality is directly related to customer satisfaction and hotel revenue
- WiFi design is a crucial part of creating the hotel of the future and leveraging evolving technology