3 things hoteliers need to know about connectivity


This article is part four of a four-part series on hotel connectivity. Here is part one, here is part two, and here is part three.

We surveyed the experts and they shared with HOTEL MANAGEMENT the top three things hotel owner and operators should know about connectivity.

Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power
1. Wi-Fi is the new hot water. It doesn’t matter if everyone is on three devices—they still want great connectivity just as they want hot water.
2. Connectivity remains one of the frequently reported problems and has significant impact on guest satisfaction.
3. J.D. Power data suggests that having tiered data seems to work. Giving people the option to pay for better connectivity is something guests like.

Greg Grant, senior director for Phoenix Managed Networks
1. Wi-Fi usage is only going to increase and hoteliers need to be prepared to meet those demands. Increase bandwidth and look at what’s coming and what’s next.
2. Filter your internet usage. Understand how it’s been used. Understand how devices are going to be used. What’s down the road technology-wise?
3. Secure it. What is Wi-Fi accessible in your network? Hackers will attack the weakest link in the chain and that’s often the Wi-Fi.

Coleen Carey, vice president of marketing for Eleven
1. The demand for connectivity and explosion of bandwidth is going to continue so hoteliers need a balancing act to understand and manage the network.
2. The network isn’t just about connecting devices but it’s connecting to the brand experience. Guests will rely on technology-driven experiences. Back-of-house services will build that experience.
3. Guests expect a seamless experience. All of the experiences should be the same—in Chicago vs. London vs. Shanghai—it is critical interaction with the guest. Connect with other hotel systems such as property-management systems to create personalized branded experience.

Trevor Dowsell, CTO at Hotel Internet Services
1. Access points in the room: Hallway deployment doesn’t work well. Get as close to a guest’s device(s) as possible.
2. Use multiple technologies to get the data to the rooms. Give a decent amount of bandwidth to the rooms.
3. Simplify the on-board processing. It can deter guests and aggravate them if it’s difficult. Alleviate the amount of time that the guest has to hit that page and simplify the actual page.

Craig Snelgrove, vice president of business development, Bulk TV and Internet
1. Pick a reputable service provider. Connectivity depends on design, service and support.
2. Budget for and select a network that meets the service goals, not necessarily the cheapest bid (for full property coverage and the capability to adjust to changing environmental circumstances).
3. Monitor your bandwidth and upgrade when you are consistently using 80 percent or more.

John D’Annunzio, vice president and general manager, Samsung Wireless Enterprise
1. Be sure to place an access point in each room and design your network for how it will be heavily used. Assume guests are moving from place to place.
2. Seamless integration to hotel PMS is a key priority.
3. Give the hotel purchasing and marketing traction by branding, analytics and retention.