Wi-Fi is an essential part of a hotel stay, so why are many not providing a quality service?
Whether guests are staying for business or leisure, they are probably going to need the internet at some point during your visit. It’s now considered a major factor when people choose their accommodation and it’s got to the point where guests don’t always check when booking a hotel because they expect it to be available.
Some hotels are not prepared for the amount of guests using their services and are playing catch up to provide the service needed for modern day travellers. Most of us have experienced the annoyance of waiting for a video to buffer or an email attachment taking minutes to load rather than seconds. We have heard stories of guests checking in, relaxing in their room and then realising with regret that in the small print the hotel states it only has Wi-Fi in public areas.
A new report by hotelwifitest has been released which ranks hotels across the world based on the quality and strength of their Wi-Fi. When staying in a hotel guests log onto their website and take a speed test which accurately assesses the hotel’s network. Their aim is for users to then alert the hotel to their slow speeds and hopefully in turn the Wi-Fi service is improved in the future.
The recent report focuses on the quality of the connection and if the Wi-Fi is complimentary. An adequate expected download speed for a hotel is at least 3 Mbps (which is what’s required for video streaming) and an upload speed of 500 kbps (recommended speed for a Skype video call).
Nordic Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in Scandinavia, were number one in the hotelwifitest global rankings. The Norwegian company has over 170 hotels and of these 85 per cent offer free adequate Wi-Fi. The following top hotel groups in descending order were Radisson Blu, Renaissance and Mercure.
The top ten and bottom ten for hotel Wi-Fi across the world:
Despite reports such as this, it is amazing that in 2015 some hotels do still not consider Wi-Fi to be important. Last year Motorola Solutions published ‘The Growing Importance of WiFi in Hotels’ which revealed that over 90 per cent of business travelers want Wi-Fi access in their rooms, while a third stated they would not return to a hotel that did not meet this expectation. Failure to deliver this service could result in losing business for a hotel and also raises the question – should they charge for internet access? If free use results in repeat bookings and word of mouth promotion, then perhaps they should look to change their charging strategies.
Is the hospitality industry a step behind?
London Underground now has 150 stations with free Wi-Fi access. Visitors passing through can access the internet in ticket halls, corridors and on platforms. It must be strange for travelling visitors you can access the internet under the city but not in their hotel rooms. In the last few days a prototype Wi-Fi router has been unveiled which is able to wirelessly charge electronic products from nearly 30 feet away, while continuing to provide normal internet connectivity. This and other advances in technology has happening at record speed. The hospitality must stay in touch with these changes and make sure it is ready to offer its guests new services as and when they become available.
There is the opposite view that some leisure guests do not want to go online during their stay. Some accommodation providers may start to promote the advantages of completely switching off from the outside world. If you’re staying by a Loch in the Scottish Highlands or relaxing on the topical beaches of the Maldives, do guests really want to use the internet? It’s important to disconnect sometimes and with the Wi-Fi switched off this could become a possibility.
For information on EP’s ongoing work with hotels, please contact Amy Franklin