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Op-Ed: Guest wifi expectations and how to exceed

With wifi today an integral part of the guests experience, you need to ensure your system is up to speed, by Judy Senn

Accommodation providers must adapt to the expectation of their guests that wifi is a utility and, as important as electricity to ensure they have the best experience while staying with you.

How many mobile phones would you have purchased and used over the last decade? Two? Three? Maybe four? Do you update your phone when new technology comes out?

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Why I ask, is that there are accommodation sites still running guest wifi systems that are ten years old and expecting to be able to connect Smart Televisions, for guests to be able to cast and stream their subscriptions and have easy connectivity of all guest devices.

This is just not going to happen on aging guest wifi systems. You will get bad reviews and your guests won’t come back.

Wifi is an evolving beast and every few years you need to assess what you have at your site and if it is providing what your guests need.

Your guest wifi provider should be in contact with you, helping your site evolve accordingly. We are the experts in the field and can provide a strategic upgrade to keep you current.

It may be as simple as upgrading the routers/access points/modems in each unit to a faster speed/technology or getting a fibre connection to provide faster bandwidth. Or providing a casting solution for guests to be able to bring their own subscriptions and watch them securely at your site. It doesn’t necessarily mean a whole new guest wifi system.

How much of an influence do you think guest wifi has on the ability to attract guests and maintain their loyalty?

The answer is… A lot!

Over the past two years, guests’ perceptions about wifi have changed and it has become imperative for accommodation providers to step up and provide their guests with what they want. Fast, free, secure wifi that is easy to connect every device they bring with them.

Guests are becoming more technologically savvy, and they want to cast their content to avoid having to enter their subscription login details onto your television in case they forget to logout and the next guest then has access to their account.

The guest expectation for video streaming quality has gone from a Standard Definition stream being acceptable to wanting to stream in 4K as they can at home.

Guests are expecting internet speeds of a minimum of 20 Mbps into their units for the service to be acceptable.

A US guest wifi provider recently did a survey and 29 percent of respondents said that 100 Mbps into their unit was expected.

Fibre internet connections are becoming cheaper and more available in many areas. From signed paperwork to the Fibre service being provisioned, can take eight to 10 weeks. If you want to get a Fibre connection into your premises before the Christmas school holidays, you need to start the process in August.

We are seeing more and more guests requiring doing their work on the guest wifi, and over 50 percent needing to use Zoom or video calls. Buffering during an important video call is an absolute showstopper. Your guests will be unlikely to return if the guest wifi fails to meet their expectations and they have a poor experience.

Accommodation providers need to adapt to the changing guest requirements otherwise you will fall behind in a very competitive environment.

One poor wifi review can result in many guests not staying with you. Engage with your guest wifi provider about your system and how it is coping.

Judy Senn Director Time Out Internet 

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