It’s no secret, almost everyone uses the internet at some point every day. In fact, internet usage among the hotel guest demographic of 18-64 year-olds averaged 94 percent. Of this group, most are either constantly accessing the internet or at least doing so on a daily basis, according to Statista.com
Just what is driving this high internet usage? And how can hoteliers ensure they are meeting the WiFi demands?
The simple answer is that consumer technology is the driver. Technology trends in the consumer space can provide significant visibility into how hoteliers can ensure they are exceeding future guest expectations. Some key things to consider are:
Cisco reports that in 2017 there were 8.1 devices and connection per capita. That figured is projected to increase to 13.6 devices in 2022. Between smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, smart home technologies, and desktops and laptops, consumers are more connected that ever before. And that need to connect has expanded into hospitality. So consequently more services and secure devices, like iPads and Amazon Alexa, are becoming available in the guest room that offer similar at-home experiences.
More Streaming than Ever Before.
Due to the increased number of devices consumers are connected to, they are using those devices to stream, cast, voice call, email and just surf the net, more than ever before. Nielson reported that in September 2018 Americans streamed an average of 8 billion hours of content a month. That’s right. 8 billion. A month. Leveraging over-the-top (OTT) services like Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku, it is safe to say that Americans can consume 96 billion hours of streamed content in a year.
Therefore it will be more important than ever for hoteliers to future-proof their in-room entertainment and offer the streaming services consumers use today.
Stronger, Better, Faster.
Fiber Optic internet and, the recently introduced, 5th generation cellular internet are gaining traction to meet increasing connectivity demands. Fiber is the fastest broadband technology currently available. It is estimated that Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber can reach speeds of 500mps and 1gbps, respectively. So, while Fiber is not widely available nationwide today, one could assume the infrastructure to bring it to the masses is currently in play.
Similarly, 5G has very limited availability, with each mobile carrier offering different timelines of nationwide delivery. Once available to coast-to-coast, this technology will be just as reliable as wired internet. And comes with free streaming access and devices. Could 5G replace the need for WiFi in hotels as guests use their personal devices as 5G hotspots? Does this add in a new layer of cybersecurity needs?
Security is Still of Concern.
It seems like almost every day there is a major security breech in the consumer world. Banks, social media outlets, retailers have all faced the PR backlash of a cyberattack. As they work to rebuild public perception and regain customer trust, the pressure to truly dial-in data security is on.
So as more devices are connected to a network, the more challenging it may become to effectively manage cybersecurity. SecurityRoundtable.org suggests that there is 6-degrees of separation in terms of the Internet of Things. As hoteliers build out more smart connected devices in rooms and as guests use more personal devices to connect within their hotel rooms, the degree of separation grows smaller. Therefore, it’s imperative hoteliers stay ahead of this cybersecurity challenge and remain proactive to successfully mitigate any potential threats before they become real attacks.
Internet, connectivity and security should all be top-of-mind for hoteliers. The landscape in which hotel guests interaction with hotel rooms and the functions within those rooms has changed. So, trends in consumer technology can help shed a light on areas to future-proof in-room entertainment solutions. Contact WCI today to learn more about how we can help.