New research from ZyXEL Communications has revealed that guests are demanding more personal digital services from hotels, yet more than a quarter (27%) of hoteliers admit that their Wi-Fi struggles to cope with the number of connected guest devices.
With the number of consumer internet enabled devices continuing to rise, one in ten (13%) hoteliers are still not happy with the Wi-Fi service they currently provide. Top complaints regularly made by guests are too much noise (49%) and no or poor Wi-Fi (40%) followed by an uncomfortable bed (12%) and no mini bar or tea and coffee facilities (9%).
The knowledge gap
The survey of 100 UK hoteliers and over 1,000 consumers revealed a clear disconnect between the Wi-Fi service that hotels think they provide, and what guests actually demand. Hotel managers say that a reliable network access is available throughout the building; reception (98%), bedrooms (97%) and restaurants (93%), however 65 per cent of consumers admit that they’ve had to rely on a 3G / 4G network at some point during their stay, with many moving to the hotel lobby (35%), searching for a café (22%) or sat in the hotel corridor (18%) to get good wireless signal.
Room décor is key
Hotel managers highlight that Wi-Fi speed (37%) and drop outs (26%) are the biggest issues for guests, yet many remain confused as to the reasons why this happens. Thickness of walls (71%), size of connected devices (31%) and wooden furniture (13%) are just some of the answers hoteliers provide for poor connectivity.
However, only 15 per cent are aware that microwaves impact Wi-Fi performance, and as little as 5 per cent understand that mirrors can also hinder Wi-Fi signal. To compound this, a quarter of hotels (26%) didn’t have a site survey before installing their wireless network and 46 per cent don’t even know if they had one. This suggests that hoteliers are not installing wireless networks that fits the needs of their building environment, and not designing their rooms with guest performance in mind.
The digital concierge
With Wi-Fi now one of the most requested services by guests (72%), ahead of items such as an iron or ironing board (37%) and tea / coffee facilities (24%), it’s no surprise that many expect to be provided with personalised concierge services during their stay.
Over two fifths (44%) of guests expect to be offered regional knowledge and information, a third (36%) want access to local special offers, and over a third (36%) want restaurant booking capabilities available over hotel networks. Yet only one in five (18%) hoteliers say that utilising W-Fi to improve the overall guest room experience was part of the business case when first installing a network.
When asked about when and how their network was installed, forty-three per cent of hoteliers couldn’t name their network provider and a quarter (24%) couldn’t say who completed the installation.
“With the likes of Airbnb shaking up the hotel industry, it’s critical for hoteliers to fight back and stay relevant by providing an exceptional guest experience,” said Lee Marsden, European President, ZyXEL. “It’s incredible to think that many hotel managers don’t know who provides their Wi-Fi or who installed the network considering it’s one of the most requested services by consumers these days. Many haven’t even had a site survey prior to installation. Installing a Wi-Fi network without conducting a site survey first is like throwing a party without checking if the venue is large enough for the number of people you want to invite.”
“With guests expecting hotel Wi-Fi to provide digital concierge-like services, there’s a real opportunity for managers to utilise a high performing network to improve the guest experience while also exploring new revenue streams for the business. By offering reliable and effective Wi-Fi, hoteliers can ensure customer satisfaction and increase guest retention.”