Since the rise of remote working brought on by the pandemic, surveys continue to show that as much as 59 percent of employees do not want to return to the physical workplace. Yet as workers also find unique challenges or experience fatigue resulting from working at home, a new trend has risen where employees are seeking out hotels as a preferred work location alternative. Representing a valuable opportunity for hoteliers to tap into a new revenue stream, a growing number of properties now offer remote work packages that among several features such as access to desks and stationary equipment, also importantly includes the ability to connect to a hotel’s Wi-Fi.
With both the internet and email undoubtedly serving as the most essential tools for a majority of today’s workers, a hotel’s ability to provide a fast and reliable online connection has never been as important. Yet Wi-Fi service quality continues to represent a considerable challenge that many hoteliers across the industry struggle to overcome. More than 80 percent of guests in fact state that poor Wi-Fi signal quality is often an issue they encounter when staying at a hotel.
While the industry has faced numerous obstacles in delivering high-quality online experiences, they are by no means insurmountable. By following proven best practices and strategies, hoteliers can cost-effectively ensure that their property’s network capabilities are able to consistently live up to both traditional guest and remote worker expectations.
Diagnose the Issue with a Full Network Survey
When a property hears from their guests that Wi-Fi service performance is poor, a natural reaction often sees hoteliers simply purchase upgraded equipment in the hopes that newer, more powerful technology will resolve any speed, bandwidth or signal coverage issues. However, this bypasses a crucial step that can make all the difference over whether any new hardware represents a worthwhile or wasted investment. Contrary to commonly held assumptions, purchasing more high-powered equipment can sometimes lead to unintended results such as Wi-Fi signal disruption.
To avoid this potential risk, hoteliers should always begin any Wi-Fi improvement project by first conducting a full network site survey. When working with a reputable provider they can trust, properties can identify the precise source of a performance issue, with upgrade recommendations made based on actual network needs and not on a provider simply offering the highest priced hardware.
Using technology such as heat maps combined with a property’s schematics, network providers can diagnose performance health by precise onsite location. For example, they can identify a specific area experiencing signal penetration issues due to a lack of Ethernet cabling and Wi-Fi access points for that location. Conversely, a site survey can also determine if too many access points positioned closely together are the source of interference causing guest devices to experience Wi-Fi latency and slow speeds. By first performing a survey, hoteliers encountering this issue can find that the most effective solution is sometimes not the addition of but removing of unnecessary network hardware.
Access Points: Your Key to Meeting Modern Wi-Fi Service Expectations
The increase in visitors seeking to use a hotel as a remote work environment means that properties more than ever need to ensure that high-performance network quality is accessible throughout all areas of a premises. To ensure that guest devices are able to receive a consistently strong and fast Wi-Fi signal regardless of onsite location, a hotel’s network needs to include Wi-Fi access points capable of catering to modern devices and that are implemented within strategic locations to guarantee sufficient area coverage.
One warning sign that a hotel’s network is in need of an upgrade is the use of access points that are installed in guestroom hallways. While once an effective solution many years ago, hallway-based access points are no longer capable of providing the signal strength required for today’s low-powered devices. To provide remote workers and other types of guests with seamless internet connection experiences, access point placement is now routinely recommended to be within a hotel’s guestrooms. This importantly minimizes distances that Wi-Fi signals need to travel to reach guest devices while also sidestepping potential structural obstacles that can weaken signal strength such as thick walls. Yet access points do not necessarily have to be installed in every single guestroom. By leveraging a network site survey, providers can instead identify which guestrooms serve as an optimal location to provide additional rooms with sufficient coverage, reducing installation costs while ensuring effective network performance for all guests.
Invest in a Router That’s up to the Task
As the central component of a hotel’s network responsible for managing communication between guest devices and the internet, a router’s capabilities or lack thereof can make or break a hotel’s level of success in attracting remote workers. Such types of visitors only add to the bandwidth resource requirements for hotels, with an ill-equipped router serving as a bottleneck that ultimately leads to snail’s pace speeds and frustrated guests.
Hoteliers must sidestep this potential issue by adopting routers that are specifically designed to handle online traffic for large business environments. Router platforms intended for consumer homes are at best, only able to accommodate a handful of devices at any one time. By instead adopting a router intended for hospitality environments, hoteliers can receive the processing power and memory they need to deliver high-speed performance to a multitude of guest devices and property systems simultaneously. With remote workers frequently needing to perform bandwidth-intensive activities, including file downloads and virtual meetings, a router’s enhanced performance abilities are simply non-negotiable for hoteliers seeking to attract the business of this new segment.
With approximately 66 percent of business travelers concerned over potential cyber security risks when using a hotel Wi-Fi service, a property’s router can also prove vital in successfully addressing such fears. For example, hoteliers should adopt a router platform capable of detecting and quarantining both viruses and malware. More advanced routers can even minimize the consumption of network resources and bandwidth from botnet and spamware applications that guests are often unaware of and that run in the background on their infected computers.
Hoteliers can now also adopt router solutions capable of precise bandwidth management and allocation. Such tools can automatically monitor and restrict bandwidth usage for guests using more than their fair share of available resources. They can importantly also identify and prevent illicit behaviors such as illegal peer-to-peer file sharing, ensuring that bandwidth is always freely available for legitimate purposes only, whether for guests seeking to work or staying for leisure.