Friday, September 21, 2018

Is your guest wifi stopping you getting a five out of five review?

We all know you can’t keep everybody happy and there are some guests that always find something to complain about, regardless of the facilities you have on offer. 

These reviews can be damaging and be the reason that a booking isn’t made at your complex.

In a recent article by Carolyn Murphy from Revinate.com it states: “Internet-related reviews have lower average scores (3.8 vs 4.0) than reviews that don’t mention internet services, suggesting that when the internet is mentioned in a review, it is normally seen as a drawback to the hotel experience.  

“A deeper look into the data reveals that internet-related reviews seem to most negatively affect the occurrence of five star reviews.

“From our investigation, we can infer that there are fewer five star reviews that mention Internet because people expect perfect internet service.  

“Since it’s expected, they don’t think to write about it when it’s flawless. But when they don’t have a good internet experience, they can’t award a hotel five stars.”

US company, Hotel Internet Services, conducted a search on Trip Advisor where they typed the term “wifi” and discovered four important factors of wifi and travellers of today.

  1. Mediocre to bad wifi in an otherwise great hotel might have kept them from a five out of five rating.
  2. Hotel Guests also complained and gave bad reviews for not having free wifi. Reviewers felt the resort fees should cover that amenity.
  3. The search returned over 66,000 results. Some of these hotel properties have hundreds to thousands of guests commenting on the wifi services in their room and within the hotel whether good or bad.
  4. Spotty connections and poor connection speeds are amongst the highest complaints.

Although this report is US centric, I think we can all agree that it pretty well hits the nail on the head about wifi expectations of guests.

Guest wifi is no longer considered an amenity, it is an expected service.  It is a utility and important as running water, electricity and a comfortable bed.

Guests not only want wifi to be free, they want it to be unlimited data, fast, secure and reliable.

A 2015 Trip Advisor study found that 74 percent of travellers and 78 percent of millennials say guest wifi is the most important hotel amenity.  Some guests consider free guest wifi more important than privacy when choosing a destination.

A survey conducted by Roomzzz found that 65 percent of guests connect and log on to a property’s guest wifi within seven minutes of stepping into their room.

Today’s travellers are bringing with them more and more wifi-demanding devices and it is not just about wifi access or free wifi hotspot. They want easy connectivity and to have a strong connection with all their devices.  They want to sit by the pool and listen to their Pandora or Spotify music and read a book on their Ereader or relax in their room catching up on their favourite show on one of their streaming TV Apps on their Laptop, Tablet or phone.

These are the conveniences they have at home and they now expect accommodation providers to deliver on these same conveniences.

Not to mention business travellers.  Their needs for a strong, secure and reliable connection is even more vital and when these travellers experience connectivity issues they get very upset and they get very vocal! Not only are they posting on rating sites and social media but they are talking to friends and family about their experiences.

Some important areas to consider with your guest wifi:

Speed/Bandwidth: Guests want to check emails, browse the web and stream a movie or music and chat with family and friends via Skype. You will need the fastest connection you can get.  You may need multiple connections depending on where your site is located and what internet technology is available.

Signal Strength and Reliability: In room guest wifi systems are a must.  Each unit or hotel rooms needs its own wireless access point or modem to ensure that the signal is close enough and strong enough for devices with small antennas such as mobile phones.  External or hallway guest wifi systems will not allow for reliable connectivity of devices, particularly Smart TVs.

Security: You need to ensure that each room or unit has its own password.  When your guests use a casting device you must ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate that device on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guest’s TV in a different unit.

Easy Connectivity:  Guest no longer want to have to go through a login screen (unless in a public or common area) and continually login throughout the day.  They want an in room “at home” TV experience.  Sign on once and devices automatically connect when in range of the units signal.  Just as it is set up at home.

Streaming Devices:  You need to give the ability for guests to easily connect their Apple TVs, Telstra TVs, Chrome Casts and streaming devices without having to contact the manager or support to get the device MAC authenticated onto the guest wifi system as these devices do not have a browser to be able to log them on.

Data: Guests want unlimited data.  Gone are the days guest want to pay for more data or a faster connection. Our suggestion is to throttle each unit to 8 – 12Mbps (more if you have the bandwidth available).  You still have to share the bandwidth around and ensure everyone has enough to do what they want.

Start ticking off all the key areas above and give your guests what they want.  You wouldn’t skimp on electricity or hot water, don’t skimp on guest wifi.

About Judy Senn

Judy Senn
Director Judy Senn launched Time Out Internet in September 2011. She has over twenty years of IT reseller, hardware and software distribution, sales and business development experience.

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