By Rajat Mukherji, Spectrum Enterprise
While infrastructure may not be the flashiest improvement a hotel can make, today’s hotel needs a modern network that supports growth and enables different types of self-service, contactless experiences, delivering reliable video streaming entertainment options, ensuring physical and cybersecurity, and giving employees more mobility and flexibility when performing their work.
Connectivity, security and communications are three key areas of focus for improving operations and enhancing the guest experience today to lay the foundation for future success.
The pace of enhanced, customer-driven digital experiences picked up due to the pandemic, including self-service grocery checkouts, mobile meal ordering, one-click appointment booking. And connectivity-driven experiences show no sign of abating, as guests have become accustomed to managing their own services. In fact, a recent IDC study¹ predicts that by 2025, 45% of in-person hospitality and travel orders/bookings will be initiated through self-service channels like kiosks or personal mobile devices, reducing labor costs by 10%. At the heart of enhanced digital experiences is fast and reliable internet and WiFi.
According to the J.D. Power 2022 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study,² WiFi is the one hotel amenity that guests require more than all others, with over 80% accessing WiFi in their hotel rooms. A fully managed WiFi solution delivering consistent connections that is especially designed for hotels can help provide guests with the best experience possible – fast, seamless coverage – along with providing hospitality-specific features that benefit the property, such as integration with existing property management systems, the ability to set per-room WiFi rates, create custom splash pages and manage conference connections.
A managed network and fiber internet access is another powerful connectivity combination that provides hotels with an easily scalable, reliable, high-speed connection. Managed networks use intelligent routing to maximize network performance, steering data traffic to the best-performing paths so that guests and staff always experience the fastest connection. A robust network is necessary to ensure WiFi works seamlessly.
Security, both physical and cyber, is imperative for hotels. Having insight into what is happening on a property can protect hoteliers from liability, prevent theft and give guests confidence in a safe and secure stay. One way to increase safety is with a fully managed, turnkey camera solution to monitor hotel properties. Modern cameras and sensors not only give staff eyes into areas, such as parking lots and garages, lobbies, gyms, and pools, but some also provide activity heat maps, giving a better understanding of how different areas of the facility are used at different times of day. Of course, privacy is paramount – data encryption and two-factor authentication should be used to keep the footage secure, and sensitive locations or information should be blocked from camera view.
Hoteliers also need to safeguard their data and protect their networks from hackers. As more personal devices connect to a hotel’s network, the attack surface for a cybersecurity threat also increases. A fully managed security solution can provide hotel owners with an end-to-end, around-the-clock solution that monitors, flags and protects against internet-borne threats. And a solution with automated updates is important for keeping pace with changing requirements and emerging security risks.
Many hotels rely on tools like two-way radios to communicate throughout their property and keep the premises secure, but radios and walkie-talkies are not secure and can be subject to range limitations and interference. Unified communications (UC) or guest-focused voice services offer hotels reliable, secure communication and many additional benefits. UC solutions designed for hospitality can provide hotel staff with the flexibility to collaborate from multiple devices and locations with voice services, instant messaging, video conferencing and more. Guests can benefit from custom phone greetings and wake-up calls, and voicemail prompts in the guest’s preferred language. Extending the benefits beyond communication, a hospitality-specific UC tool can even track the status of housekeeping, minibar inventories and in-room phone charges. Additionally, a unified communications platform can provide hoteliers with multiple properties with a more consistent experience across locations.
Investment in network infrastructure to support enhanced connectivity, security and communications is an investment in addressing guests’ needs now and in the future. As technology enhances guest satisfaction and staff efficiency, it is increasingly important to hoteliers to have flexibility and adaptability to modernize technology to earn repeat business. Managed network solutions can make it easier for hoteliers to scale and react quickly as guest expectations evolve in a changing and competitive marketplace.
¹October 2022 report, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Hospitality, Dining, and Travel 2023 Predictions
²J.D. Power 2022 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study
About the Author:
Rajat Mukherji is Vice President, Vertical Markets, for Spectrum Enterprise. Spectrum Enterprise, a part of Charter Communications, Inc., is a national provider of scalable, fiber technology solutions serving many of America's largest businesses and communications service providers.
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