Wireless connectivity has trumped every other amenity when it comes to what hotel patrons desire most, according to the latest from Forrester Research.

A whopping 94% of business travelers claimed that well-performing Wi-Fi was essential to their stay in the report, but it’s not just an opinion held by workaholics.

As the modern enterprise becomes more distributed, travelers of all stripes – whether on the road for business or pleasure – require constant connectivity. It allows workers to be “always on,” whether that means casually checking work email on vacation or collaborating with teams via messaging apps while staffing a remote conference.

But performant Wi-Fi also allows guests to share vacation photos over social media, for instance, or take advantage of streaming apps when they don’t have “the job” top-of-mind during a trip. International travelers may even opt for little-to-no coverage plan from their wireless carrier in favor of Wi-Fi hopping along their trips.

Delivering Wi-Fi access is especially important, as 64% of leisure travelers told Forrester that they are not loyal to a particular hotel brand. With a staggering 89% of guests “deciding where to lodge based on free reliable Wi-Fi,” according to the 2018 Lodging Technology Study, it turns out connectivity is key to brands staying competitive, too.

Business guests are just one piece of the puzzle

It’s not just about delivering Wi-Fi technology to guests: Connectivity also plays a major role in driving the success of major brands throughout the hospitality industry from an operational perspective.

As has been the case in other industries, hotel brands today connect their various branch or franchise locations via a corporate wide area network (WAN) that supports many of the critical applications hoteliers need to both keep guests happy and the lights on.

For instance, guests expect a simple and smooth check-in process akin to what they’re increasingly experiencing with point-of-sale systems at retailers. Hotels can avoid bottlenecks at checkout by arming check-in staff with Wi-Fi-enabled devices that allow employees to service staff from different parts of the property.

Connectivity is also essential to guests who need their lodging to double as a remote office. The hotel’s Wi-Fi needs to be able to handle an array of personal and business devices that customers bring along, as well as share enough bandwidth to support large volumes of data or real-time communication apps.

At the end of the day, however, hotel networks need to support a seemingly countless number of business and pleasure apps that all place unique demands on network capacity that IT needs to support.

Regaining visibility during digital transformation, cloud migration

The challenges with juggling all of this connectivity is similar in the hospitality space to what IT faces in other industries. As connectivity becomes increasingly pivotal to business, hotel brands are exploring a similar “digital transformation” model that enterprises in other fields are undergoing.

IT teams are retiring their data-center-centric network architectures in favor of connecting through cloud environments and direct internet access (DIA). In many cases, global hotel brands will need to leverage an array of cloud vendors and ISPs to support and deliver traffic across the network.

The benefit here is that IT doesn’t need to support or own a physical infrastructure that exhausts resources and requires a local presence at every branch office.

The Bottom Line: 

Reliable Wifi coverage is the current day’s top traveler concern, reports Forrester Research. In fact, 89% of all hotel guests surveyed by the 2018 Lodging Technology Study reported that they decide where to stay “based on free reliable Wifi.” Of course, this trend applies for business travelers who need their rooms to double as a remote office, but also for leisure travelers who find it necessary to stay connected with friends and family. The vital signal also serves hotels themselves, providing higher levels of efficiency for customer check-ins, as well as the chance to stay up-to-date on all the tech-y ways needed to survive in the digital age. As hotels continue to improve guest services, this top-level priority of Wifi is only getting more and more important.  

For the source of this original article, and more fascinating and cutting-edge travel news, visit: https://www.phocuswire.com/appneta-hospitality-network-performance




Author: Shannon Cantor