Managing Wi-Fi access in your hotel

A few weeks ago my wife and I spent a night in a hotel in the region to attend a wedding. During the course of our stay I was struck by how annoying I found it that the wireless connection in certain parts of the hotel was so poor.


As a 40 year old I found it irritating but my wife, a mere 34 year old, was most disturbed by this! It made me wonder what a 24 year old would have made of the same situation.


Having made this observation I was interested to watch various customers walking round the hotel holding their wireless devices in the air or standing by windows to try to increase their chances of getting a decent internet connection.


The time has passed where hotels of all sizes and standards can ignore the electronic revolution. A decent wireless connection throughout the whole of your premises is now the expectation of a large percentage of guests. It also seems that the days of charging for a basic service also are coming to an end as the provision of decent connectivity is becoming a necessity, not an added extra.


Research has suggested that the average guest now travels with 3 wireless devices and consumes around 2GB per month in mobile data. Provision of sufficient bandwidth to cope with this type of usage in volume is becoming a challenge for even the best connected of establishments. In addition, it is generally felt that as technology progresses the demand for bandwidth is likely to increase and the problem will continue to grow.


There are some packages available which put you in control and give a number of alternatives to you and your guests. Accommodation providers can offer (and advertise) free internet access as a benefit to the guest or offer some free initial minutes with paid access after this, or even have a tariff for different speeds of access or different time slots.


For example, you could offer free general use of a low level Wi-Fi service which would allow your guests to search the web or send emails, but restrict access to higher bandwidth services which could be used to download or upload large files or stream video. You could make the latter a pay as you go service, this may require investment in some management software, but this could be charged on a volume access basis to the customer.


By considering the options available to you and your guests it may be possible for Wi-Fi access, with a transparent and fair usage policy, to be both a benefit to guests and a potential revenue generator. It would certainly keep Mrs Johnson happy!


For more information on the topic, please contact Colin Johnson.