Wi-Fi Upgrade blog

Essential Steps to Ensuring a Successful Hotel Wi-Fi Upgrade - image

Whether a high-end luxury resort or an independent boutique property, Wi-Fi service quality continues to be ranked as one of the most important factors that can make or break a guest’s stay. Access to Wi-Fi in fact continues to be regarded as more important than offerings such as complimentary breakfast, housekeeping, and free parking according to industry surveys.

This hardly comes as a surprise as more guests than ever travel with multiple devices and expect to experience nothing less than a fast and reliable hotel internet connection for each. Hoteliers have responded to these growing demands on their Wi-Fi service capabilities by prioritizing the investment of network infrastructure upgrades.

Yet as can often be the case with any overhaul of a property’s technology stack, failure to follow best practices and understand precisely what is required can turn what should have been a straightforward upgrade into a time-consuming and costly endeavor resulting in guest dissatisfaction. With property reputations and revenue more at stake than ever before when it comes to meeting guest online expectations, discover the key steps that should always be front and center in the minds of hoteliers seeking to keep pace with evolving industry standards.

Begin by Performing a Wi-Fi Site Survey

Hoteliers can make the mistake of believing that a Wi-Fi upgrade merely involves the purchasing and installing of new high-performance network hardware. However, sidestepping any sort of pre-installation network analysis more likely than not will result in a failure to adequately address unique property needs and can lead to issues such as Wi-Fi dead spots or online traffic bottlenecks.
Before making any purchasing and installation decisions, a hotelier’s first step should therefore be to work with an experienced and reputable provider in order to perform a full scale, property-wide network site survey. Able to utilize advanced software including heat maps, such providers can equip property leadership with a visual and fully comprehensive representation of current network performance health. This importantly can reveal any specific onsite locations experiencing poor signal penetration or lackluster speeds.

An effective survey also crucially reveals where hardware such as Wi-Fi signal access points and Ethernet cabling should be ideally installed to meet service quality goals throughout a location. Just as vital to hotel budgets, it can also reduce the cost of installation by eliminating any unnecessary hardware purchases which if installed, can potentially cause unintended results such as Wi-Fi signal interruption.

Support Your Network Upgrade with a High-quality Router

With a multitude of expenses vying to be included in a property’s budget, hoteliers can be forgiven for seeking out less costly alternatives. Yet when it comes to ensuring high-performance Wi-Fi, a property’s router quality should always be non-negotiable. As the central network component tasked with managing data and communication between devices and the internet, a router’s capabilities or lack thereof can make all the difference between meeting guest expectations or experiencing an increase in unsatisfactory reviews.
The first thing to consider is that routers designed for consumer homes or small businesses are substantially ill-equipped to handle the multitude of devices seeking an internet connection at hotels or resorts on a daily basis. Such routers are typically more affordable because they are designed using a slower processor and less memory, two critical aspects for ensuring a reliable and high-performance connection for guest devices. Investing in the appropriate router hardware will allow hoteliers to accommodate many more guest devices without experiencing the dropped or slow connections that have become almost synonymous with hotel Wi-Fi services.

Access Points: Your Hotel’s Key to Property-wide Wi-Fi Satisfaction

Wi-Fi access points are what ensure that internet connectivity is able to reach guest devices scattered throughout a property. They are responsible for ensuring a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal within each guestroom and public area. As a result, hoteliers should consider access point selection and installation areas carefully when planning any network upgrade.

Wi-Fi access points are what ensure that internet connectivity is able to reach guest devices scattered throughout a property. They are responsible for ensuring a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal within each guestroom and public area. As a result, hoteliers should consider access point selection and installation areas carefully when planning any network upgrade.

In years long since passed and prior to the advent of smart devices, properties could get away with installing access points within hotel hallways in order to reduce hardware purchase costs. Yet with today’s low-powered Wi-Fi devices and with guests now frequently performing bandwidth-intensive activities such as content streaming, this approach is simply not an option for hotels seeking to provide a high-quality experience.

Instead, hoteliers need to move to an in-room access point deployment strategy that can provide each guest device with the strong and uninterrupted Wi-Fi signal quality now universally required. Placing access points within guestrooms notably eliminates interference caused by signals otherwise having to penetrate obstacles such as walls, ducts, and bathrooms. Access points placed too closely together in hallways can also cause signal interference with each other, leading to the frequent occurrence of latency and data loss, which guests simply call “slow” or “bad” internet. While not having to place an access point in every guestroom, hoteliers should work with a knowledgeable provider in identifying strategic locations where placement guarantees effective property-wide coverage capable of meeting performance expectations. Investments should further be made in adopting advanced access points that can automatically switch Wi-Fi signal frequency channels whenever encountering interference in order to maintain consistent reliability and fast speeds.

Create Separate Networks for Guests and Backend Operations

Guests are far from the only ones seeking to connect to a hotel’s internet. In today’s hyper-connected world, the vast majority of operational systems and services likewise also require a stable and fast online connection in order to function correctly. This means that a hotel’s operations can often be competing with guest devices over receiving a share of network bandwidth, with both often obtaining less than satisfactory performance as a result. To sidestep this issue, any upgrade should include equipment capable of per-network, precise bandwidth management and allocation, as well as sufficient coverage in common areas and utility and back-of-house spaces, minimizing any risk of guest frustration or bringing operations to a sudden grinding halt.
The use of separate guest and operational Wi-Fi networks is also strongly recommended as a measure to heighten a hotel’s cybersecurity abilities. With sensitive information including point-of-sale or PMS data often the target of hackers, a segregated network importantly provides hoteliers with the ability to implement separate policies and security protocols to provide at-risk systems with the highest level of protection without creating inconveniences for guests. In the event of a cyber-attack, separate networks also allow hoteliers to more swiftly identify the source of a breach, quarantine it and implement an effective response before a threat escalates further.
To learn more about services offered by Hotel Internet Services please fill out the form below or call 855-999-8110

Scalability blog

Scalability: Adopting Guest Entertainment Technology that Stays Ahead of the Curve

Historically, hoteliers were widely considered to be early adopters of advanced in-room entertainment solutions. Bringing amenities like satellite and cable television, on-demand movies and internet access to the forefront of the hospitality industry, hotels were the gold standard in entertainment— and frequently provided better experiences than guests had at home.

Hospitality, however, is a constantly-evolving industry. As new technology emerges and guest expectations shift, hoteliers cannot afford to be stagnant, but neither can they afford to regularly deploy new in-room entertainment solutions. Fortunately, improvements in technology mean that many of today’s solutions are designed to evolve alongside new entertainment trends, but identifying which solutions will live up to its future-proof promise may be tricky. When choosing a new solution that can consistently elevate the in-room entertainment experience, here are a few key considerations hoteliers should keep in mind.

Guest Personalization

Personalizing experiences has become an increasingly important trend across all industries, and it’s likely here to stay. Consumers feel frustrated when experiences are impersonal, and creating personalized experiences helps hoteliers increase revenue by up to ten percent. This is evident in consumer entertainment, too; in 2019, more U.S. households subscribed to a streaming service (69 percent) than to a traditional satellite or cable TV provider (65 percent).

With the booming popularity of content streaming services, guests now expect the same dynamic experiences in their hotel room; but with a wider array of viewing options and platforms now available, every guest’s preferences are unique— meaning that the solutions hoteliers provide must be highly personalized to meet their needs. In-room streaming and casting solutions, which can be customized to meet every guest’s device and security preferences, not only meet these needs, but these solutions’ constantly-growing compatibility with thousands of popular apps ensures that they are scalable, long-term solutions.

Future-proof in-room entertainment solutions can add personal touches throughout the guest journey. With entertainment solutions that incorporate digital AI assistants, improving personalization can be as simple as displaying a custom greeting on the in-room television system upon a guest’s check-in, to providing recommendations, and even enabling guests to make requests and remembering their preferences throughout their stay. As AI becomes increasingly powerful, its ability to improve guest personalization is only expected to improve.

Maximized Convenience

Another hallmark of a scalable in-room solution is its ability to provide guests with increased convenience. Consumers expect immediacy, flexibility and instant accessibility; ensuring an in-room entertainment solution can not only meet these needs now but can continue to do so in the future, is vital for hoteliers selecting new entertainment solutions.

Industry-leading in-room entertainment providers accomplish this by offering solutions able to be easily integrated with a hotel’s Property Management System (PMS). By connecting and communicating directly with a hotel PMS, in-room entertainment solutions can allow guests to checkout, adjust temperature and lighting controls, order room service and even make requests for towels directly from their in-room television screen. Not only does it alleviate the need for guests to walk down to the lobby or wait on hold when calling down to the front desk, but the ability of these solutions to seamlessly communicate with other hotel technology gives it limitless future potential.

Reliable Connectivity

Reliable connectivity is arguably one of the most important amenities that a hotel can offer guests today. To ensure positive in-room entertainment experiences, including consistent high-quality video streaming and uninterrupted web surfing, hotels need to regularly evaluate the quality of their connectivity.

When a hotelier selects a new entertainment solution, they must also consider the implications it may have on their existing networks, and identify which rewiring or network equipment upgrades may be necessary to support the increased connectivity demands of an advanced entertainment platform. Fortunately, industry-leading in-room entertainment solution providers can work alongside hoteliers to identify potential challenges and seamlessly integrate new platforms with a hotel’s existing IT in mind. More advanced in-room entertainment systems can even provide hoteliers with intuitive dashboards that don’t just continuously monitor solution performance, but can also offer a real-time analysis of internet connectivity quality throughout an entire property. 

Powered by innovative technology, today’s in-room entertainment solutions are bridging the disconnect between a consumer’s daily life and the hotel amenities available to them. With personalization, convenience, and connectivity top-of-mind, hoteliers can ensure that they select a solution that not only increases guest satisfaction by meeting modern trends, but that also has the proven ability to stay ahead of the curve indefinitely.

To learn more about services offered by Hotel Internet Services please fill out the form below or call 855-999-8110

Should I Utilize IoT, and How?

Though the Internet of Things (IoT) can appear daunting and has often been shrouded in mystery, many hotels and other facilities are seeing the benefits of operating their properties with its help.

IoT is not nearly as complex as many would think. In general, physical objects are embedded with sensors that enable them to send data and receive data from other devices or systems. This is done via the internet or other networks and does not require human intervention. IoT devices then share the sensor data through an IoT gateway. This process allows a system to act on the data it receives, whether by sending out an alert, adjusting a setting on another device, or monitoring and recording the information for reporting and use at a later date.

By connecting various systems with the internet via these embedded sensors, properties have the ability to promote safety, limit interruptions or costly downtime, prevent equipment or property damage, improve efficiency, reduce operating costs, and protect guests and employees alike.

Solutions that allow hoteliers to manage and monitor all of their IoT-based systems, immediately prove beneficial by providing seamless communication between multiple systems and centralized control, and by streamlining operational efficiency, resulting in guest service improvement. Let’s review some of the benefits even one property can receive from these types of sensor application solutions.

Convenience

With IoT door locks, guests can change rooms or extend their stays without having to visit the front desk. For inventory management, service requests can be generated to refill stock and then a notification can be sent when the order is completed.

Security

IoT door locks also have the ability to send door ajar alerts to minimize security risks. Through the use of IoT housekeeping panic buttons, properties can protect their staff members by alerting security in the case of an emergency and accurately reporting their location.

Health and Safety

By making sure the property is meeting indoor air quality regulations, it can protect the health of both guests and staff members. Properties can also monitor water temperatures and ensure they are in the correct range to avoid bacteria growth or water contamination. By also monitoring the temperatures for areas like walk-in coolers and freezers, users can maintain proper food safety across the property and ensure health agency compliance. With HVAC system monitoring, they can also provide proper air quality and ventilation.

Predictive Maintenance

Equipment like compressors and pumps can be monitored to prevent failures and reduce downtime. By alerting staff where water may be present near electrical equipment or appliances, costly repairs can be avoided and more extensive damage can be prevented. The maintenance team can also be notified when to replace air filters to maintain air quality.

Cost Savings

By combining IoT door locks with IoT thermostats and motion sensors, properties can implement temperature controls and manage energy use. Additionally, by tracking high-value indoor assets with 24/7 on-demand location reporting, organizations can improve business efficiency and reduce operating costs. Further, with monitoring, the facility can optimize its HVAC system and reduce operating costs.

Why do I Need a Solution to Manage and Monitor IoT-based Systems and Where do I Start?

If you are thinking about upgrading your infrastructure, consider adding IoT-capable access points. The next step is to identify IoT technology that best aligns with your property’s current strategies.
IoT is one of the most influential technologies to affect the hospitality industry in many years. Solutions that provide a property with 24/7 relevant, on-demand reporting can’t help but improve business efficiency and reduce operating costs. Effective remote monitoring allows users to keep track of all aspects of their business from one system, so they can ensure their operations run smoothly and their people and assets are protected.

By using solutions like this, organizations are able to better manage their business, and better understand their guests. They operate more efficiently and accurately, and they are able to make dramatic improvements in guest service and loyalty.

To learn more about IoT Services that hotel Internet Services offer please fill out the form below or call 855-999-8110

What is WiFi 6 and Does Your Hotel Really Need to Upgrade?

By Gary Patrick, CEO of Hotel Internet Services 

With the online demands of hotel guests and their devices ever-increasing, hoteliers have constantly remained under pressure to maintain a watchful eye over their WiFi network capabilities so as not to risk any potential decrease in satisfaction or their property’s reputation. WiFi speed and quality has in fact become so crucial to the guest experience and a hotel’s ability to attract high booking rates that many hoteliers understandably jump at the next opportunity to upgrade their networks to the highest standard.

WiFi 6 is the latest standard in wireless network technology that promises to boost connectivity speeds and performance reliability even further.  Yet depending on a hotelier’s own knowledge and experience, it can also raise a number of worthwhile questions.

From understanding precisely what it is to determining if it is in the best interests for a hotel to make the upgrade, included in this latest HIS blog are the essential details that today’s hoteliers need to know over how WiFi 6 stands to impact their operations and guest expectations.

WiFi 6: A Crash Course for Hoteliers

Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 was released in 2019 as a successor to 802.11ac (WiFi 5) and as a result of the skyrocketing increase in the number of devices connected to a single network in buildings around the world. When compared to WiFi 5’s capacity, WiFi 6 offers the ability to accommodate more than four times the number of devices. Its speeds can also outperform WiFi 5’s maximum of 6.9 Gbps by as much as 9.6 Gbps.

With the now widespread prevalence of smart technology-based amenities and systems in hotels, each requiring their own fair share of network resources, these enhanced capabilities are why so many properties are seriously considering making the switch to networks featuring WiFi 6 enabled-technology.

How to Determine if WiFi 6 is Worth the Investment

Despite its growing popularity, one common question on the minds of hoteliers can often be whether such enhanced speeds and network abilities are really that noticeable from either a guest’s perspective or from an operational standpoint. The first factor to consider is that for many guests, WiFi 6’s performance enhancements really do not provide much of a difference over those of WiFi 5. For those seeking to simply connect personal devices within guestrooms at an average-sized hotel, WiFi 5’s abilities should still prove sufficient in meeting guest expectations for fast speeds and reliable connections.
Where the new standard’s features stand to provide the most benefit is for high-capacity environments such as a hotel’s convention spaces, where thousands of devices may simultaneously be attempting to maintain an online connection using the same router and access points. Thanks to its faster speeds and ability to accommodate a multitude of devices, WiFi 6 is credited with finally eliminating the connectivity challenges that have plagued conferences and other events for years- from snail pace browser and downloading speeds to continuously dropped connections or no simply connectivity at all.
WiFi 6 is therefore ideal for properties featuring large areas with highly congested traffic. This can not only include hotels that host conferences, but also those that cater to weddings, business meetings and birthday celebrations to name a few examples. Properties currently experiencing performance issues for their events should seriously consider investing in an upgrade as soon as possible.

For back-of-house operations, WiFi 6 can also prove invaluable for dramatically increasing the download and upload speeds of a wide range of applications and services that are required to share the same local-based network. Ultimately, the decision on whether to make the upgrade should rest on how many devices a hotelier expects will be connected to their network. Properties should always work with a trusted network provider to determine if their specific circumstances require an upgrade or if their existing WiFi 5-based service still proves to be sufficient.

Ensuring a Successful WiFi 6 Rollout

As with any internet-based technology, the benefits of WiFi 6 can never be realized if the underlying network design and installation plan does not meet the standard’s requirements. If inadequately designed, a hotel’s internet line will simply act as a bottleneck that erases any performance enhancements WiFi 6 is intended to provide. To sidestep needless complications and expense, a full site survey of a property’s network is always recommended as the first step. By selecting an experienced and reliable provider to perform the survey, properties can determine if existing access points are able to provide the correct WiFi 6-enabled coverage for their various onsite areas. Network providers can also offer guidance and assistance to ensure that back-of-house systems and devices are WiFi 6 compatible. Foregoing this step may otherwise result in such systems and devices receiving WiFi 5 performance quality as if WiFi 6 was never installed.

The Inevitability of Wi-Fi 6 Connectivity

Regardless of its impact on a hotel’s various service areas and departments, what remains clear is that eventually WiFi 6 will become the universal standard not just for hotels, but for other businesses and homes across the world. Leading up to this and in addition to its benefits over WiFi 5 is the ongoing microchip shortage, with network hardware providers prioritizing the availability of resources almost exclusively towards creating WiFi 6 compatible components. If this wasn’t enough to compel hoteliers into making an upgrade, WiFi 6 is also widely known as the highest standard by today’s consumers, with guests that value high performance connectivity potentially basing their booking decisions on its availability. This is despite the fact that many guests may not know the exact difference between the older and newer standard, and even though they may not be able to see any observable improvement in performance. Simply promoting WiFi 6 as an available service can enhance a property’s suitability in the minds of guests when they compare their booking options and note that some hotels are WiFi 6 enabled while others are not. This understandably can result in hoteliers adopting the standard simply to stay competitive with other nearby properties.
However, what should be apparent now is that the need for WiFi 6 and the timing of its adoption will continue to vary by property for at least the relatively near future. Ultimately, hoteliers should always seek out advice from reputable industry network professionals on what their connectivity needs are and whether any enhancements are necessary or even worthwhile. Doing so will not only ensure that they can continue to meet guest expectations while maintaining a seamless flow of operations, it can also significantly mean the avoiding of time-consuming headaches and costly expenses which at this point in time, may not even be necessary in meeting a hotel’s current online demands.

3 Key Hotel Technologies to Sidestepping Labor Shortages & Guaranteeing Guest Satisfaction

By Gary Patrick, CEO of Hotel Internet Services 

With a year of record-low guest reservations now thankfully behind us, the hotel industry now finds itself facing another unexpected challenge in the form of mass labor shortages. Despite what should be the welcome news of a pending surge in travel this summer, many hoteliers are rightly concerned that insufficient staffing levels will lead to substandard service and rising guest dissatisfaction that can jeopardize hotel reputations.

Worse still, the inability to retain a sufficiently staffed workforce risks a property having to limit the number of guest bookings at a time when occupancy levels are above 50 percent for the first time since the pandemic. Much of the root cause behind this is simply the fact that many furloughed employees have since found higher paying jobs and are reluctant to return to the industry. To prevent the stalling of their recovery efforts, hoteliers must therefore find creative ways to fill the gaps and ensure that guest service quality remains high regardless of occupancy or staffing levels. 

Fortunately, advances in technology are now able to be leveraged by existing hotel staff to allow them to do more with less. Yet with a wide range of options to choose from and with limited revenue available for new investments, it can be a daunting task to determine which solutions are essential to running more efficient and responsive guest services. Read on to find out exactly what technologies should be in in any hotelier’s toolkit to make the most out of the pending travel surge while ensuring complete satisfaction for each and every guest.     

Break Down Barriers to Exceptional Guest Service With IoT

One of the biggest challenges for hotel employees in meeting guest expectations is simply keeping track of and responding swiftly to the multitude of requests that are made each day. However, the same in-guestroom technology solutions that are being used to enhance guest convenience and social distancing can also be used to provide employees with much-needed support. For example, IoT-based comprehensive in-room service platforms are widely recognized for their ability to provide guests with instant access to hotel information and amenities such as room service at the touch of their fingertips. Yet behind the scenes, more advanced solutions that can seamlessly integrate with a hotel’s PMS can also fully automate the directing of requests to appropriate departments. This not only results in faster service but also means no staff members have to needlessly serve as a middleperson to ensure that requests are delivered and handled by the correct personnel.

From requests for extra towels to making reservations at a hotel’s restaurant or inquiries into available promotions, advanced in-room service solutions are also invaluable in preventing tasks from slipping through the cracks and leading to a lapse in service quality. Employees that are stretched too thin can easily become distracted and overlook the completion of previous requests. However with an in-room service and PMS integration, the status of requests can be easily reviewed at any time and can be escalated to ensure that all tasks are completed by staff in a timely manner.

Invest in a Smarter Workforce Strategy

Self-service technology has been around for quite some time within the hospitality industry due to its ability to offer instant convenience, but has since become even more sought after since the rise of the pandemic. Able to minimize germ exposure risks by encouraging social distancing, self-service platforms are now favored by more than 70 percent of hotel executives as a way to maintain guest safety and rebuild their trust. But one less discussed advantage of self-service technology is its ability to lessen staff workloads. Using digital check-in and keys as an example, arriving guests are not the only ones that benefit from being able to avoid the front desk and instead gain immediate access to their guestrooms. Frontline employees are also able to receive some relief by sidestepping routine, yet time-consuming check-in processes. By regaining time otherwise wasted on a task that does little to enhance guest experiences, hotel staff can instead re-focus their efforts to other areas where they are needed the most and that can actually lead to increased satisfaction.  

Despite the reputation that the hotel industry has in typically lagging behind other markets in technological development, circumstances have undeniably changed to where adopting new solutions and ways of managing operations are critical to business survival. Yet rather than viewing recent innovations as a potential risk to sidelining the human element which is central to the guest stay experience, hoteliers instead should recognize that these new technologies are empowering their employees to perform their jobs better, not serving as a means to replace them. When backed by innovative tools that can instantly streamline operations, hoteliers can ensure that their employees are always able put their best foot forward in seamlessly achieving the high-quality experience that each returning guest now expects.