For many people, the novelty of working from home has definitely worn off. Between juggling childcare and dealing with distractions and inadequate work stations, some workers are clamoring to get out of the house and into the office at least part time. However, that may not be feasible for everyone. With new COVID variants on the rise, some offices are hesitant to reopen, and for distributed workers, there may not even be a nearby office to go to.
With traveler occupancy still down and hoteliers looking for strategies to recover from 2020, the concept of “workspitality” is quickly gaining ground. By renting out their guestrooms, conference rooms, and business centers for make-shift office use, hotels can capitalize on unused space and attract an entirely new type of guest.
Already 77% of remote workers say they’d consider a work-from-hotel subscription. But in order to deliver on the technological needs and expectations of the modern hybrid or remote worker, some properties may need to level up their technology infrastructure. Here are five upgrades worth investing in:
- Fast, reliable Wi-Fi. Business users have high expectations when it comes to connectivity. Nearly 90% say Wi-Fi is the #1 amenity they look for when choosing a meeting venue and 85% say they won’t return after a lackluster Wi-Fi experience. Offering exceptionally good Wi-Fi with ample bandwidth and easy and secure connectivity is essential for delivering the experience business users need.
- Bandwidth provisioning. With the average person expected to tote 3.6 devices by 2023 and demand for video streaming accelerating, bandwidth has become a hot commodity. Business users won’t tolerate being hamstrung by the kid in the next room gaming. To avoid unacceptable lag time, implement bandwidth shaping technology that allows you to provision more bandwidth for business users, and consider offering premium bandwidth options for purchase.
- Data encryption. Security is absolutely essential—business users will not feel comfortable sending, sharing or printing sensitive business documents or conducting video calls or transactions without encryption technology in place. Implementing commercial-grade encryption is a must for giving business users peace of mind. Be sure to include—and communicate—features that also delete all data from the network, including print queue documents, so that nothing “lives on” after the user has signed out.
- Ease of accessibility. With any good security system comes the need for user authentication. However, it shouldn’t be a cumbersome process. Users don’t want the headache of having to authenticate multiple times for each new access point due to Mac Randomization or have to talk with tech support just to access AirPrint. Implementing tools like a Passpoint certificate (Hotspot 2.0), which allows devices to automatically connect to available Passpoint-certified Wi-FI, can make it fast, easy and seamless for business user guests to access the resources they need with the confidence of a secure network.
- Real-time availability. Reserving space for business use is much different than reserving a room for an overnight stay. You may want to offer ½ day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) options, weekly subscriptions or include additional options like space in the business center or conference rooms. Offering a real-time business booking system on your website makes it easy for guests to find out what’s available and book a space that suits their needs without having to call or make special arrangements. Also, there’s nothing worse than arriving at a hotel and finding that critical amenities, like the on-site restaurant, free breakfast or business center, are closed or are being renovated. Be clear and current about these availabilities on your site so that business users know what to expect before they arrive.
Offering “workspitality” options for business users is a great way to make the most of vacant space and cater to an entirely new guest demographic. And it’s an especially great opportunity for properties located in secondary and tertiary markets where co-working spaces aren’t available. Hotels can offer a much more private setting with better amenities, faster Wi-Fi and fewer interruptions, greater emphasis on cleanliness, and no long-term commitment.