Hotels’ WiFi should be as reliable as the hot running water in the bathroom
A study by wireless provider iPass has revealed that guests value reliable hotel WiFi almost as much as they value a comfortable bed and 81% said they had experienced poor WiFi in a hotel over the past year. Zhone Technologies, a company which installs super fast broadband in hotels claims that even up to 90% of hotels are offering their guests weak to mediocre wireless Internet. So guests value fast and reliable wireless connection more than almost anything else and hotels keep failing to deliver.
Intermittent signal, weak reception and poor data transfer values are plaguing hotels’ Internet infrastructure. The problem is that more often than not, hotels have installed wireless broadband quite some time ago when it was a norm for guests to bring no more than one wireless device with them Usually, it was a laptop with big and powerful external antenna, capable of catching weak signal. Smartphones and tablets were not that common and the Internet itself, although popular, was not such a necessity as it is nowadays. Since then, a large part of our lives activities has moved online. We shop, share, communicate, bank, plan and organize. More portable devices require stable connection to work well. There are not only smartphones or tablets, now there are also cameras, game consoles, watches and active wearable technology.
It is not just big hotels than fail to deliver a dependable WiFi. Smaller hotels' idea of offering wireless Internet was (and still is!) to install one wireless router in the main reception. That’s it. Naturally, such small and weak source of connection means that the signal never passes the first floor. Even if it does it ends up being temperamental and intermitten. Best bet is to leave the comforts of top floor room and try the luck in downstairs lobby. Talking about halfmeasures, hey?
Hotels need to acknowledge the fact that a lot has changed in the last several year in the area of personal and wearable technology. Nowadays, it is completely standard for all of us to carry at least few wireless devices on ourselves when we travel: a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and a light travel laptop. Children often bring portable game consoles on holidays with them. All of this means that, in theory, a family of four can easily have up to 8 devices with them when they check in to a hotel. Devices that all require a reliable and fast wireless broadband connection 24/7.
Today, the guests are expecting such connection no less than we are expecting a hot running water, a comfortable bed and an excellent customer service. The fact that hotels struggle to deliver reliable WiFi causes the guest to be frustrated and fed up. In fact, a website has been set up to accommodate guests’ feelings and experiences in this matter. hotelwifitest.com exists so people can submit information about the quality of Wifi in hotels they have stayed in. It allows to test the connection quickly and submit the results online in the matter of few seconds. The website has been a huge success and has been featured across the online media. The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, Yahoo, FoxNews, The Telegraph and TechCrunch have all praised the idea. The Times called hotelwifitest.com one of TOP 50 sites of 2014.
Hotels simply cannot underestimate the importance of delivering a reliable and fast broadband to us, their customers. The guests use the Internet all the time, on and off holidays too. We use it for work, fun, communication, media consumption and many other purposes. Our lives are switched online 24/7 and we often cannot afford to not be able to connect for the period our hotel stay. In fact, according to our survey, over 85% of travellers (aged 30-40) would NOT choose to return to a hotel with undependable WiFi signal. They would look for another hotel in the same area with a reliable wireless Internet instead. The times have changed, so hotels should too.