What highly available Wi-Fi networks do for guest satisfaction

(Hotel Internet Services)

This article is part two of a four-part series on connectivity. Here is part one.

Two out of every 50 hotel guests report some type of Internet issue, said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. Older guests typically have user errors, such as a password error or just not being able to access the Internet while younger guests typically have issues with speed and dropped connections, Garlick continued. “Prompt service and resolution for any type of problem that a guest has is key, including Wi-Fi,” he said.

Beyond having updated equipment and designs, guest satisfaction goes hand-in-hand with having the Wi-Fi network highly available, said Craig Snelgrove, VP of business development for Bulk TV and Internet. “This means having a robust design that will recover from power and ISP outages, proactive network management and monitoring and 24/7 support,” he said. “A hotel environment is a changing environment in terms of its [radio frequency] characteristics. Provide your hotel with the capabilities to adjust to changing real-world RF environments.”

Performance measures are a great way to find out problems, especially when they aren’t worth a call to the front desk, said Bruce Goluskin, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort’s director of information services. “My opinion doesn’t matter—it’s what my guests tell me that’s important,” he said. “We survey our guests continually and include a specific question about the Internet service experience. If you have a good system, you don’t get comments—people don’t comment if things work great.”

Snowbird set a goal prior to implementing its survey: The resort wanted a 90 percent or better guest satisfaction rating on the Internet question. “We’ve met that expectation but you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” Goluskin said.

All employees, especially those on the night shift, need to be properly trained and knowledgeable about basic connectivity troubleshooting, said Cristian Morosan, assistant professor at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College. “Guests today expect their problems to be solved by the first employee that they talk to,” he said.

Explain to guests in simple terms or provide brochures on how to log in and what to do when the connection is slow or interrupted. Guests become frustrated during interruptions but those annoyances can be managed. Explain the expectations from each type of connectivity in terms that guests understand is beneficial, said Agnes DeFranco, professor at the University of Houston.