How high-speed wi-fi can improve the hotel experience

Posted by Karen on Oct 23, 2015 12:00:00 AM
Connected devices are becoming ubiquitous and the hotel industry is no exception. Guest-facing employees are starting to use devices such as tablets to record and track guest requests and preferences, saving time and improving services as a result. As we’ve previously discussed, the hotel industry is both highly competitive and operates under tight profit margins. Anything hoteliers can do to get an advantage over their competitors needs to be examined. Hotels aren’t just in the service sector; they have a great deal of influence over whether or not a person, couple or family enjoys their trip, something that they may have had to save for over months or years. A positive experience shouldn’t be seen as a nice thing to have when it comes to a hotel stay, it should be standard. To create a loyal customer, one who will return and share their experience with their network, hoteliers need to focus on going above and beyond for their guests.

How hoteliers are using technology to improve service

Some hotels are using iPads to speed up the check-In process. Rather than have guests queuing up at reception, front desk staff are taking iPads over to the lounge area for guests to check in themselves, perhaps offering them a complimentary drink while they do so.

Room service is another area where hotels are turning to tablet devices. Rather than supply rooms with paper menus and having to deal with the extra processes around ordering items off the menu, some hotels now provide guests with in-room iPads. Guests use the iPads to order off a digital menu, the order going straight to the kitchen – reducing the need to staff a phone line or have team scour the premises for the next morning’s breakfast orders. The hotel concierge service can use tablets in a similar way, making it quicker and easier for them to recommend local attractions and services based on up to date availability to guests that make enquiries. Meanwhile, some establishments, like the hotel Café Royal in Regent Street, equip all of its employees with devices where they can track and log all activity surrounding the guest (such as seeing that they’ve arrived at the airport, which allows them to make last minute preparations to the room). IPads have even revolutionised the way the hotel runs its kitchens, making service more efficient, and improving the overall experience for guests.

The right solution is vital

All of these systems benefit both the hotel and its guests, but the service has to live up to its promise. The hotel needs a network that can cope with the demand. Room service via wi-fi is only as good as the wi-fi – if a guest can’t get on the network, they can’t see the menu, and their day becomes just that bit more frustrating. If chefs communicate with front-of-house via iPad, what happens when the wi-fi drops out during service?

Wifi is one of the most complained about elements of the hotel experience. If it works well, it's largely invisible, just an extra element that helps make the guests stay pleasant and hassle free, if it falters, however, it can cause dozens of small frustrations that end up making the visit memorable for all the wrong reasons. Hoteliers need to focus on getting the right solutions in place to prevent these frustrations and improve the overall guest experience.
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