Gaining competitive edge in the hospitality industry with Wi-Fi

Linda HuiThe most important preparation before going on a holiday or a business trip used to be hotel location and dining options in the area. However, as the world gets smaller and more connected, tech-savvy business and leisure travelers are expecting to stay connected and in touch with family and friends via Wi-Fi.

With a population of 7.9 million and per capita GDP of US$37,777, Hong Kong is a growing hub of for business and tourism, which are also attracting foreign direct investment. In fact, Hong Kong continues to rank second in global foreign direct investment inflows after the United States.

Over the last year however, the country’s lodging sector has been lackluster and witnessed a decline of tourist arrivals by 2.5%. This is largely due to economic uncertainty. This has placed pressure on hotels to differentiate themselves in order to retain and attract new customers.

One way of strategically attracting more guests is through fast and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi is no longer just another amenity at hotels, but a prerequisite when selecting overseas accommodation. According to recent research, 83% of hotel guests take the time to report a bad Wi-Fi experience, and 36% won’t rebook if they had such experience. Hotels in Hong Kong without Wi-Fi might risk losing new and existing customers.

Enacting the home away from home experience

Hotels are becoming an extension of the home, but operators are also finding ways to create memorable experiences for their guests. Wi-Fi is key to this. Regardless of device, application or location, mobile connectivity is woven throughout the day for travellers. With Wi-Fi being the preferred way to access to the digital world, travellers expect to connect all devices such as smartphones and laptops with the hotel Wi-Fi network with little complexity. Failing to meet these expectations often results in frustrated rants on social media and travel sites, damaging a hotel’s reputation.

Hotels have to provide wireless connectivity that delivers reliable service despite interference from neighbouring devices and high-density surges. Increasingly, hotels find that the networks that were good enough for the entire property 10 years ago can no longer satisfy a single guest from the high-end premises.

Make access to the digital world a breeze not a burden

Wireless network places a burden on the IT teams at hotels, who have to address multiple requests at the same time. They are required to ensure thousands of different smart devices can log onto the Wi-Fi network easily and battle cumbersome guest servers, whilst trying to keep everything secure—it’s an operational nightmare.

Hotels with progressive strategy need to consider simplifying the guest on-boarding experience by making it seamless and secure. This can be done by allowing guests to use social media, loyalty program credentials or any other preferred means to log onto the Wi-Fi network. Being prompted for a sign-in to access Wi-Fi every single time can be frustrating for the guest, thus many hotels are providing automatic access after the first log-in. This can all be done through a self-service portal to protect every connection securely.