This post was originally posted in February 2017 and has been upated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
When you think of the perfect guest Wi-Fi experience, what words would you use to describe it? Fast? Automatic? Reliable? Easy? One thing these all have in common is they make the guest Wi-Fi experience lovable; a delightful experience that guests will come back for. It's not an adjective we commonly think of when it comes to Wi-Fi, but as the #1 demanded amenity, shouldn't it be our goal? To make guest Wi-Fi more lovable rather than cumbersome, confusing, or frustrating? In this post we explore six ways to get there.
1. Make a good first impression
As more guests opt for mobile check-in and smartphone room keys in lieu of the front desk, Wi-Fi is often your first—and possibly only—guest touchpoint. It’s important that the initial experience is welcoming and easy. Your captive portal should be consistently branded, mobile-ready, and user-friendly. The Wi-Fi login process is like a first date, if it doesn’t go well, it’s unlikely there will be a second date—or repeat stay. It’s also important this experience extends across your entire brand so that a guest gets the same familiar experience at any one of your properties.
2. Get personal (but ask first)
Yes, Wi-Fi is about connecting devices to the Internet, but it's also about connecting people to your brand. In order to understand who is using the Wi-Fi, you need a centralized guest Wi-Fi platform that provides automatic authentication and connections to guest information systems like PMS and CRM to better understand and engage your most loyal guests. It is at the point of authentication that we are able to move beyond WHAT device is connecting to WHO is connecting to serve up a more personalized experience. That is the true value of authentication--it enables brands centrally manage Wi-Fi and to add color to their guests with rich guest profiles that open up the doors to better guest engagement.
3. Make it effortless and build trust
The ideal Wi-Fi experience is one your guests may not even be aware is happening. A guest arrives on property and is automatically connected to the Wi-Fi. She then gets a welcome message and perhaps even an offer that is triggered by her location in the hotel. For the first time, both guests and hotels can rest easy knowing the Wi-Fi connection is secure. With Eleven and Passpoint (a.k.a. Hotspot 2.0) technology, a secure fully WPA2 encrypted connection is possible. Learn more about automatic authentication in our recent blog post.
4. Make guest streaming dreams come true
According to a new study, 85% of guests think hotels should support multiple devices and streaming. To achieve easy and secure content streaming, hotels can utilize dynamic VLANs to create personal area networks (PAN). With a PAN set up for each room of the hotel, guests can stream content from their devices to the in-room TV just like they would at home. Guests can also control basic room settings (lights, temperature) as well as connect to other family devices for content sharing. Effectively, this technology turns the hotel room into a living room and turns guests into loyal brand champions.
5. Expect a little give and take
Compromise is key to a successful relationship. Free Wi-Fi is still the #1 most desired amenity. But today, guests have begun to understand the value of a higher level of Wi-Fi performance. By offering tiered Internet service plans with clear value at each level, guests choose the plan that fits their needs, based on the speed and number of devices they need. Guests who just need to surf the web or check email may be satisfied with your free offering but power users, like online gamers or business people who need large file sharing or videoconferencing may be willing to pay for higher levels of performance to support their more complex needs.
6. Unlock deeper connections
Like love, Wi-Fi cannot be seen or held, but it signifies a great connection. A cloud-based Wi-Fi analytics dashboard enables you to centrally managing the Internet experience across devices, integrators, and properties. By rolling the Wi-Fi experience up into one dashboard, you can better integrate other data to tell a bigger story. For example, you can connect social profiles, property management systems, and loyalty databases to get a more complete picture of your guests. Central Wi-Fi management enables you to leverage Wi-Fi to make better connections across systems.
Can we have 20 minutes of your time to show you how to make your guest Wi-Fi more lovable?