Everywhere you go whether it is for business or pleasure, every hotel, B&B, motel, even campsites are beginning to offer Wifi to service the needs of their customers.

Now in this connected world, the offering of Wifi is a must, as even the most un-tech-savvy customer has the need for connectivity.  A few years ago the offering of Wifi was a good selling point and was used for enticing the customers in.  But now customers have become wise to this and will actively look for hotels that offer good quality Wifi.hotel wifi

The offering of Wifi is so important, that customers rank the offering higher than they do for free breakfast or even free parking (on a survey of 53,000 hotel guests).

So with this need comes responsibility and also opportunity.  A recent case study  of a four star hotel, estimated losses of $120,000 a year in revenue due to a poor Wifi network that routinely dropped guests connections.  Disconnected video conference calls and was riddled with Internet-less “black spots”.

38% of guests in a Hotels.com survey reported that Free Wifi was the “make it or break it” factor when booking a hotel.  Over the last six years, the number of guests using hotel Wifi has jumped 35%, while more travelers equipped with smartphones and tablets are turning their hotel rooms into “mini NASA flight control stations”.

hotel wifi needsOffering free Wifi shouldn’t just be thought of as an additional service, and it should be ranked as important as the food or beds in the hotel.  Hotel managers should be monitoring their Wifi and ensuring that all customers are satisfied.  If a customer leaves a bad review on the internet about the food or any other part of the hotel, this review is seen be any potential customer.  The same is now becoming commonplace for complaints about the Wifi, and as this is now the number one requirement for customers, hotel managers should take note and start to act now, as if the Wifi is not up to standard then hotels will be losing customers.

So how do you keep your customers happy about your Wifi offering?

Simplicity is key!!  We have all been there, we turn up at our hotel, go to the reception desk and book in.  If you are fortunate and the hotel is on the ball you will be given a little piece of paper or card which has the Wifi password on it.  When you get to your room,you type this really long password into your device and hope that you typed it correctly.  If everything goes to plan then you get online without a hitch.Wifi Password

This is what hotels want, but quite often it doesn’t work out this way.  Alot of hotels will tell you that the Wifi password is in the information pack in your room.  Great, except for one big problem, either the customer can’t find the password in the pack,or worse still the pack isn’t there, so now you have a disgruntled customers coming back down to reception to get the password.  But because the person on the desk doesn’t know it off by heart, they have to go and look for it.  Instantly the hotel has created an unhappy customer and the potential for a bad review to be left.  This is definitely not the customer service experience any hotel wants to promote.

beach wifiThe other major grumble from customers is internet that disconnects every hour, or worse sooner!  Some customers believe this is just bad connection and for some they know that it is the hotel that is turning the connection off and forcing people to reconnect.  Either way this is a pain especially for the user, and will potentially result in either complaints or bad reviews.

With customers being continually connected, any bad reviews or comments can become instantaneous across social media platforms.  As everyone knows great news travels slowly, but bad news travels like an outbreak, so it is better to do something about it before any bad reviews become a problem.  Just remember, if a guest is on holiday they have come to relax and want the least amount of stress as possible, and if the guest is a business user, they will want to use the hotel room like they are back in the office, so having bad Wifi is most definitely not on the list of requirements for either of these.

Should a hotel offer Free Wifi or charge for this service?

Put simply their is no definitive answer to this.  For the general public,hotel pay there is demand for free Wifi as they feel that they have paid for the room and therefore feel held to ransom if they want to be connected, but on the reversal business travelers do not have a problem paying for Wifi providing that it is a good service and they can connect with the office and get their work done.  Also 7.4% of all customers have stated that they are happy to pay for Wifi if it means that they receive a higher speed. So connectivity is key and guests are willing to pay for it, but hotels need to find the right balance without over complicating everything, and ensuring the quality of the customer experience.

So what can a hotel do to improve their Wifi?

We first need to determine the exacting needs of the modern day guests. From all the surveys and customer feedback the following criteria have been determined.  Guests want:

  • Guaranteed connectivity – offering Wifi in the first place
  • Simplicity – no more long winded passwords
  • Ease of Access – not having to look for the Wifi password
  • Free Wifi – or charge for higher speeds only

How can a hotel achieve customer satisfaction with Wifi?

The simple answer is to become social.  For hotels to compete in this modernhotel wifi needs era they need to become forward thinking and embrace technology whilst listening to customers needs and requirements.  As demonstrated above, Wifi is the single most important need for guests, which gives hotels the opportunity to embrace this need and to utilise it.

But how?  Well Social Wifi is the way forward.  Allowing your guests to log on using their favourite social media platforms immediately makes the whole sign in experience alot more familiar and user friendly.  Guests no longer have to search or ask for the Wifi password – as their social media profile is their password.  Not only does this make the whole process more seamless but it takes away one process for your front of house staff to manage.  No longer will guests be going up and down in the lift hunting for Wifi access passwords, so from a customer service point of view and logistical perspective you have solved two potential concerns just but utilising Social Wifi.

wifi revenue

So what else does a hotel get from Social Wifi that they don’t get with traditional Wifi offerings?

Well hotels can drive additional revenue and satisfaction without the need for charging for Wifi services.  With social media authentication you can monetize your hotel Wifi network without burdening the user with added charges.  Hotels can create a custom landing page – a landing page is the first page a guest sees when connecting to a hotel Wifi network. You can brand each page to fulfill your requirements.  A hotel Wifi landing page can be modified to promote a variety of different options.

So as a hotel you really can learn alot about your customers whilst building a detailed marketing database.  Aside from what hotels already collect, i.e. name, email, address, etc, you can now engage with your customers on their social media platforms and directly on their social media profiles. Social Wifi powered customer insight and analytics solution – turns your hotel Wifi network into a powerful marketing tool. This solution uses social authentication to capture user demographics used to segment hotel guests by age, gender, and frequency of visit. Hotels can send offers and promotions through an eShot engagement system and manage media interactions.

Social Wifi is the answer for hotels to enable them to move with the times and keep the engagement with their guests whilst ultimately aiding to generate revenue and achieve customer satisfaction.  This is one area that hotels need to react to quickly, as once competitors start utilising this service it won’t be long before guests start using neighbouring hotels just because of the free Wifi offering.