July Connected – Spotlight: Monetizing Wi-Fi
Hard to believe it is already July. This year has felt like one of those high speed bullet trains. It seems like it was just New Years.
This month we are discussing that all important subject of money as in how to monetize your Wi-Fi network when you have free Wi-Fi. Yes, I know that sounds oxymoronic, but read the article and you may be surprised, or pleased, or both. Check out this month’s Spotlight: Monetizing Wi-Fi!
We just completed our annual guest/hotelier Wi-Fi study. For appropriate reason we call it “An Intimate Look at Hospitality Wi-Fi: A Study of Guests and Hoteliers.” We really dug into the psyche of guests as regards to their needs and wants of wireless Internet access. See below for a glimpse at the study and a link for you to download it.
Our Scoop section as usual scours the media for helpful hints and insight into the hospitality biz. We close with some fun vids we have curated just for you.
If you are interested in upgrading your Wi-Fi network, we have a new services brochure. If you would like our BeyondTV Brochure, our Wireless Streaming Study, or info on Fusion Gateways they are just a click away.
We close with some fun vids we have curated just for you.
We would love to hear from you – feel free to write and let us know what you need and want.
Spotlight: Monetizing Wi-Fi
In survey after survey and study after study, free Wi-Fi is the most wanted and needed amenity. This demand is so strong that according to our recent study, 72% of the guests we surveyed declared that not having free Wi-Fi is a deal breaker when choosing a hotel. There is no question that free Wi-Fi is here to stay, but how are hoteliers going to keep up with the demand for more and more bandwidth. Guests travel with smart phones, tablets, laptops and they expect to hook up to your wireless network with all these devices. Put a family in the room and usage multiplies rapidly.
Not only do guests expect top notch wireless connectivity available 24/7, they expect it to be fast! However we all know faster internet means more cost to the Hotel. Who should pay for this? The guest or the hotel?
Where is all this bandwidth going to come from and how do you put all these guests and their families and their devices online? Hotels are already investing in a Wi-Fi infrastructure but now have to increase bandwidth to allow for video and music streaming, etc. It is only fair for a guest to expect reasonably good quality free Wi-Fi in order to access email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. However when it comes to guests watching Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube in crystal clear HD quality; it’s also fair that there should be a cost for this type of premium access.
Think about it, hotels are already taking a hit with video on demand not being much in demand. Are they now supposed to pay for the bandwidth of the upstart (video streaming) that is replacing their in-room entertainment revenue source? Moreover, paid Wi-Fi proved to be very lucrative and was a significant return on investment for the hotelier. So now what?
The Advent of Tiered Bandwidth
Now that free Wi-Fi is an intrinsic part of doing business, hoteliers have been searching for another means of both recouping their investment yet still delivering an exemplary service that keeps the guests happy and their craving for bandwidth satisfied. In our recent study, 53% of the guests surveyed said they would be willing to pay an additional nominal fee for the increased speed and bandwidth. The sweet spot for hoteliers was $4.99. By implementing a tiered offering, guests who do not require increased bandwidth and are perfectly happy with the free Wi-Fi that the hotel offers, are not penalized by having to pay for it. Those guests who require greater bandwidth for streaming content or transferring larger files would simply pay an upcharge. This is not unlike consumer offerings from cable companies that upcharge you if you want faster access.
This premium service would help on the hotel’s ROI and pay for the infrastructure. Accordingly, it becomes very simple for the hotel and the guests. With Tiered Bandwidth, their basic internet browsing is free but if they should require additional bandwidth, guests would be able to purchase “Enhanced High Speed Internet.” In this way, everyone gets the bandwidth they need, without bringing down the hotel’s network.
Design & Installation
The more Internet-centric we become, obviously, the more bandwidth. Hoteliers and installers need to take this growing need into consideration and put these forecasted requirements into the design, whether it be a new installation or an upgrade. One of the determining factors is the Wi-Fi Access Point. Guests share the bandwidth from the AP they are using. The hotel, along with the installer need to determine how much bandwidth is needed by how many guests thus determining how many Access Points are necessary.
The Ultimate Gateway
The perfect tool for implementing tiered bandwidth is our Fusion Gateway (www.fusiongateways.com). The device enables hotels to be able to bill their guests for tiered levels of access. Additionally, there is direct credit card integration with over 40 different merchant gateways, PMS integration using multiple PMS vendors and prepaid access cards. The Fusion gateway allows bandwidth tiers, and failover so there is “Always On” WIFI.
The Great Differentiator
Hoteliers will find that initiating a robust state-of-the-art WIFI system is a necessity in today and tomorrow’s marketplace. It is a major differentiator in separating out your establishment from the competition. When you can deliver seamless connectivity to your guests that enables them to rapidly logon to the network and of course stay on it, while delivering plenty of bandwidth and 24/7 guest support, you will have the happiest of guests. They will write good reviews and tell their friends about your hotel.
With the proliferation of internet-enabled devices rapidly increasing each year, tiered bandwidth makes the most sense for both monetizing the network as well as keeping guests happy.
New Study Highlights User Wi-Fi Desires
In order to keep our finger on the guest pulse, we recently conducted a survey of over 500 hotel guests to determine how significant a role Wi-Fi was in their travels. Then to understand the hotelier side, we surveyed some 200 hoteliers to get their input on this all important amenity.
We wanted to know what devices guests carried, their Internet habits and desires and what they needed as well as wanted from their digital hospitality experience. This included the importance of streaming for guests with its native need for increasing bandwidth, which of course leads us to a more robust Wi-Fi network.
At the core of today’s guest experience is connectivity and the quality of that connection. Guests no longer are stationery with their laptops. They have become moving targets with their smartphones, tablets and coming advances in smartwear. This is not your daddy’s Wi-Fi. What was workable two years ago is no longer acceptable. Antiquated Wi-Fi networks account for the majority of today’s user complaints with dropped, weak or inconsistent signals.
Should every consumer product be able to communicate with a smartphone?
Here’s a very interesting article on the Internet of Things…
It started with home appliances, but this year has seen the idea of “smart” consumer products extend to soccer balls and liquor bottles as the technology evolves and promises more seamless engagement opportunities for product marketers than was previously available. Read More from Hotel News Now>
GBTA Study Reveals Business Travel Trends, Attitudes and Pain Points
“A massive technological transformation is changing the face of business travel,” said GBTA Foundation vice president Joseph Bates in a statement. “At the heart of this radical disruption is Wi-Fi, which has become the indispensable technology for travelers. Wi-Fi and mobile technologies allow travelers to stay connected whether in their hotel rooms, at the airport, or at 30,000 feet. This transformation will only accelerate, and business travelers will demand always-on connectivity and mobile applications that allow them to stay in touch 24/7.” Read More from Travel Pulse>
Hotels Gearing Up for Wearable Technology
Dick Tracy has nothing on today’s smart watches
Technology used to be considered impersonal. You know, the idea of the “robotic mind,” no human interaction. But, the reality is technology is actually very personal and becoming more so by the day. Devices are so in sync with their users, they’ve become the personal secretaries to the masses. This is even more true when talking connected wearables. Read More from Hotel Business>
The History of Wearable Technology – Past, Present and Future
What is wearable technology, where does it come from, who invented the wearable technology, what is the future of wearable technology? These are questions we are asked every day. The words “wearable technology” instantly make most people imagine a fitness tracker, a smartwatch or google glasses.
Read More from WT VOX>
BYOT – Now you have free Wi-Fi, do you have plans for free car charging?
In the continual challenge to keep pace with guests BYOT, is free car charging the next addition to the value-add/customer expectation? Three Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® properties in California and Washington State are setting new standards in sustainability, partnering with Tesla Motors, to offer the Tesla Destination Charging Program for guests with electric vehicles. Read More from eHotelier>
A Road Map to Combating Human Trafficking
The hospitality industry is doing its part to fight slavery
The numbers are simply staggering. According to the International Labor Organization, there are currently more than 20 million victims of human trafficking globally, roughly 4.5 million of which are forced into sexual exploitation. Even more tragic, children are often the victims of sex trafficking; in fact, the average age of entry into the sex trade for girls is 12 to 14 years old. As hard as it is to imagine, this problem is not relegated to far-off places on the other side of the globe—human trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, is a very real and widespread issue here in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that as many as 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year. In response, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have both passed broad bipartisan legislation this year to help victims and to crack down on perpetrators of this heinous crime. Read More from Lodging Magazine>
This month we have some more of those rather strange yet funny hotel videos. Take a moment and sit back and enjoy.
Imagine a world without the World Wide Web
An amusing glimpse of the world without the Web.
It is 1989. Tim Berners-Lee, whilst working at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, has an idea to create something called the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web, over the course of the following 26 years has turned countless facets of everyday life, be it business or personal, on its head. The travel industry, as we all know, is one of a string of industry sectors to find itself operating in a fundamentally different way because of the advent of the web. Search engines, online travel agencies, metasearch, supplier brand websites, etc. Where would we be without them now? But consider what modern life would be like if Berners-Lee had not followed through on his idea. Check out the video.
Short, Funny, but a Little Frightening
Very funny short film about a couple who visit the Pier Hotel Limerick and are treated to a few nice surprises! Their tag line at the end: Service so good, you want to take it home with you.
Expedia has a new series of commercials that kind of funky and humorous.
Jet Blue Flight Etiquette Videos
Jet Blue has this crazy set etiquette videos that have to produce at least a chuckle. Enjoy them at your own risk. They cover everything from how not to nap on a plane, to exiting and everything in between.