Hotel Wi-Fi Evolution - What Does It Mean To IoT?

By Tony Heung Senior Director Global Product Management, Exceptional Innovation | January 27, 2019

In the past ten years, hotel guests have changed from using heavy laptops to connect to Wi-Fi using 802.11b/g with roughly 12Mbps practical throughput to ten years later using lightweight mobile and large screen tablets to connect to Wi-Fi using 802.11ac with the possible reach of 1Gbps throughput.  Many readers may not realize the iPad was not even launched until seven years ago on April 3, 2010.

Traditional Wi-Fi Design

Traditionally    Wi-Fi   Access    Points    (WAP) were installed in the guest floor corridor and one WAP would service six to eight guest rooms with some coverage gaps.  It was based on the assumption that guests would bring just one Wi-Fi device which is the laptop making the desk area in the room mandatory.  Today's business travellers bring on average three Wi-Fi devices, including a laptop (some may have already dropped it), tablet and smartphone.  And more importantly the location of where guests will use Wi-Fi is now everywhere and anywhere within the hotel property.

Ten years ago, internet was mostly used in one direction, i.e.: downloading, as all the network traffic was pulling down from static websites but not much for uploading.  Today the usage pattern has shifted since the introduction of Web 2.0 and the popularity of social networking and video streaming sites.  The upload and download network traffic ratio used to be 1:10 but is now getting closer to 1:1 in some hotel networks.

It is obvious that a ten-year old Wi-Fi network will not fit today's needs, so how can you foresee the Wi-Fi network you are installing today will not be obsolete in ten years?  

Today and Future Use of Wi-Fi Network

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.