A few years back, I was traveling in the Southwest. Since I needed to work while on the road, I made reservations for a hotel that advertised in-room WiFi. I guess I should have paid attention to the disclaimer that the hotel was “not responsible for errors or omissions.” The IT vendor that installed the hotel’s WiFi network had apparently forgotten the WiFi. And wired access. And any connections of any sort.
But I had work to do, so I headed to the lobby in search of a WiFi signal and a quiet corner. Unfortunately, the only thing that was quiet was the WiFi network. Even in the coffee shop. The barista served up a mean macchiato but still no WiFi.
In searing desert temperatures, I hiked up the street to what I was told was an internet café. The exterior didn’t look promising. The interior was worse. No café, no internet and no way I wanted to be there after dark.
Two hotels and two coffee shops later and still no WiFi. In fact, I don’t remember if I ever found a connection that day. But I do know I won’t be visiting that little stretch of wasteland anytime soon.
I recall this story for two reasons. First, the mobile workforce doesn’t just hope for WiFi access, they count on it to get their jobs done. And, second, nothing irks a hotel guest like a WiFi promised and undelivered. Dirty towels? Probably an oversight? Rude front desk? Could be because of another guest. But no WiFi? That’s unforgiveable.
According to a recent J.D. Powers survey, it’s not just me. Their 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study Index highlighted a growing dissatisfaction with hotel internet fees. Stuart Grief, J. D. Power vice president explains “the anger is rooted in this cultural shift. We’re at a tipping point where hotel guests value Internet access as they would a bed and hot water. You can’t live without it.”
WiFi is no longer a nice amenity; it’s a necessity. And it had better work right. Just as guests expect a bed with bedding, decent water pressure, and doors that lock, they expect WiFi access that connects painlessly and reliably to the Internet.
Some forward-thinking hotels are addressing these rising expectations by prioritizing how to address WiFi rather than treating it as just another toiletry. Done right, they realize it can be a differentiator. In the hospitality industry, “customer is king,” and the customers have spoken: they want Wi-Fi. It’s time to think about how to enhance or upgrade your network so you meet and exceed customer expectations.
You can bet if I find myself on the road, searching for a place to stay and work, deciding on a hotel will be straight forward, with pervasive wireless access as a key requirement. Based the J.D. Power survey, it’s clear that I’m not alone.
Interested in how to prepare your wireless network infrastructure for Wi-Fi hungry customers and clients? Register for our Pervasive Wireless webinar on September 6th today!