Work from Hotel Packages Require Premium Connectivity
According to a report from The International Air Transport Association, travel is unlikely to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024. The survival of many hotels now depends, in part, on their ability to implement new business models that target customers previously used to daily life in an office setting.
Many are already pivoting and creating attractive “work from hotel” (WFH) packages for those that need a reprieve from working from home – or might not have had access to an office at all. For example, the Hamilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. is offering a daily rate, so guests can have quiet space during traditional daytime working hours, while Royalton Luxury Resorts is catering to those that want to swap their workplace scenery longer-term and take advantage of having location flexibility.
If hotels want to prove that they are the alternative workplace destination of the future, they must deliver business-class connectivity. A Hotel Internet Services survey found that 90% of respondents said that access to a hotel’s Wi-Fi service is very important, and more than half (58%) said that the quality of the hotel’s Wi-Fi network would strongly impact their booking decision. Guests expect the same level of quality that they have at the office or in their home.
With the continued increase in demand for data and mobile connectivity though, delivering high-quality wireless access is difficult. Hotel Wi-Fi is uniquely challenged with the combination of multiple networks, dense building infrastructure and the sheer number of new guest devices connecting every day. The radio spectrum can quickly become congested, limiting network performance, speed and users’ bandwidth. A poor, sluggish experience won’t cut it with remote workers, who often multi-task across multiple devices. They need to be on video calls and require speedy file sharing and seamless access to online content and collaboration tools.
Enabling your guests to work at the speed of light
Hotels can differentiate their WFH offer and address guests’ connectivity demands with LiFi (short for light fidelity) technology. It provides a high-speed, highly stable and secure Internet connection through lighting. It’s similar to WiFi, but instead of using radio frequency wireless communication, LiFi transmits data at high speeds over the infrared spectrum. Guests simply plug a USB access key into their laptop or tablet, to securely send and receive data to the transceiver built or retrofitted into their room’s light fixture or available in a separate sensor.
Unlike WiFi, where coverage quality can fluctuate or disappear depending on location, LiFi provides stable, in-room wireless network coverage 24/7 (whether the lights are on, dimmed or off). It’s immune to signal interference from other equipment, so it’s ideal for use in places where many networks overlap like in hotels. LiFi can deal with a lot of data; it’s fast enough to easily handle family members, along on the workcation, streaming several HD movies simultaneously without discernable latency. Such a fast and stable connection is ideal for this new breed of workers.
An added benefit of LiFi is that it offers an extra layer of security. Light waves can’t penetrate walls. Information is only accessed using the physical USB dongle, and the LiFi connection is encrypted. Business professionals can essentially have their own secure, private wireless network connection in their guest room, separate from others in adjoining rooms or elsewhere on the hotel premises.
LiFi: A new driver of revenue and guest loyalty
Hotels are getting creative to attract guests and generate revenue. At a time when occupancy is low and customer expectations are high, they shouldn’t overlook their wireless service. With LiFi, they can truly deliver a premium connectivity experience and give remote workers the same level of service they receive when in the office or at home. Hotels can even adapt their pandemic WFH pivot in the long term: complementing their existing WiFi and upselling LiFi and its high-speed, reliable Internet service with branded USB access keys. This technology offers great potential to help the hospitality industry embrace new opportunities like WFH, as it rises to the challenge of the new normal.
About the Authors:
Keith Graham is a Sales Director at Signify, where he focuses on supporting Hospitality customers. Keith has more than 15 years of product development, product management and executive technical sales experience.