Today, great Wi-Fi is about more than just connecting devices—it is about connecting people to your brand. People spend more than 50% of their time on Wi-Fi. Your guest network must be able to not only handle this growing traffic, but also to identify and engage your most loyal guests.
From 5G to Wi-Fi 6 to Hotspot 2.0, it can be hard to keep up with all of the advancements in wireless communication and networking. Below we outline our top 8 predictions for the Wi-Fi industry in 2019 and what technologies you really need to pay attention to and why.
Our customers and partners experienced exceptional growth this year, pushing our platform further than ever before. ElevenOS now provisions over 100 million authentications per month, putting us at a run rate of over 1 billion authentications annually. That’s 1 billion times that our platform will enable people to stay connected to the people, places, and things that matter most to them. A fact we’re incredibly proud of.
We have quickly become accustomed to the world at our fingertips. In just a decade, our habits and lives are forever changed–many of us no longer travel with maps, we can answer almost any question in mere seconds, and we can connect with people on the other side of the globe in an instant. Wi-Fi has also since become ubiquitous in hotels and other public spaces, in response to the expectation that we are connected always and everywhere. But for many reasons, the industry has not always been able to keep up with the demand for more and better Wi-Fi.
On a stormy mid-November morning in Orlando, the Eleven team arrived at the NMHC OPTECH Conference & Exposition in order to attend keynotes, learn at breakout sessions, and network with the top minds of the MDU/multifamily industry. As Eleven has been building a new solution for tenant Wi-Fi, industry events, like OPTECH, are a great place to learn more about the industry. Throughout the course of the three-day conference, our team soaked in as much information they could. Below we get a glimpse into the valuable insight that they gleaned and how the new ElevenOS MDU solution will be a catalytic force for network service providers in this industry.
A modern horror story: You've been traveling for over 12 hours, you're tired, hungry and you still have some work to do before tomorrow. You check into your hotel room, open your laptop and...the Wi-Fi doesn't work. Dun, dun, dun!
Last week, part of the Eleven team ventured down to Silicon Valley for the 2018 HTNG Insight Summit. It was a week of high-tech learnings and insightful conversations with industry leaders, so we rounded up our top six learnings to share with you.
With the ubiquity of mobile and always-on connectivity, it's hard to believe it was less than 20 years ago that Wi-Fi was first available in homes and just over 10 years since the first iPhone came out. When Eleven first started in 2002, the Wi-Fi brand had just come out and hotel Internet was still almost all wired. To see how far we've really come, it's interesting to look back at the history of Wi-Fi.
People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it's hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can't get to the next level without a strong foundation.
Thanks to the impending deadline for the European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), online security has been getting a lot of attention of late. We think it's also a great excuse to do some spring password cleanup. Creating a secure password shouldn't be difficult. Below is a list of guidelines for creating and managing passwords for your online accounts:
Last week some of our team members joined hospitality's brightest minds to talk technology at the HT-NEXT conference in San Diego. We engaged in meaningful conversations, attended informative sessions, and came home with several great insights about how hotel brands develop their Wi-Fi strategy for today—and tomorrow.
Spring Breakers Beware! Much ado has been made about hotel Wi-Fi security since a recent report from the Today Show showed just how easy it is for hackers to tap guests’ personal information via hotel Wi-Fi. Unsuspecting sunbathers naively connect poolside only to learn a nefarious hacker has secretly duped them into authenticating on to a fake Wi-Fi network that closely resembles the hotel’s.
As a follow-up to our recent article in Hospitality Upgrade, “The Future of Hotel Wi-Fi”, we have pulled together our insights plus thoughts from some of the industry’s best and brightest to present you with our top six predictions for hotel connectivity in 2018.
Last week, several of our team members attended the HT-NEXT event in Orlando—a first-time collaboration of HTNG North America and Hotel Technology Forum. The event brought together hospitality technology thought leaders and included information from the Central Authentication workgroup presented by our very own VP of Product, Eric Sullender. When our team came home from the conference, the office was a buzz with all the exciting discussions, learnings and sessions, so we wanted to share our key insights as they relate to the future of guest Wi-Fi.
Ten years ago, if you looked to the future of hospitality technology, you probably would have never guessed that Wi-Fi would be at the core of guest engagement. As guest experiences rely more on mobile, hotel brands can leverage Wi-Fi authentication to identify loyal guests and reward them with a homelike experience that lets them create the personalized stay they they truly want. From streaming their own content to the in-room TV to controlling the room temperature and lighting to receiving location-based offers around the hotel, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be in full swing in 2017. Your Wi-Fi network is mission critical to enabling these connected experiences and building brand loyalty.
There are two primary ways to address guest demand for seamless, automatic connection to hotel Wi-Fi: Mac re-authentication and Passpoint. In this post we will explain how the technology works and the benefits and challenges of each.
Do your TripAdvisor reviews include complaints about your Wi-Fi? Ever wonder why? We’ve outlined the top 5 concerns guests have about Wi-Fi when they are planning a hotel stay. The more you tailor the Wi-Fi experience at your property to avoid these concerns – the happier and more loyal your guests will be!
HITEC 2016 is here! You couldn’t ask for a better spot for the largest hospitality technology show of the year than New Orleans. We’re looking forward to the week of innovation, fun, and connecting with friends, new and old!
In Part I and Part II of our Myth-busters Blog Series, we debunked the myths that Wi-Fi is all about bandwidth, that it should be managed on-property, and that it’s an IT function, not a business asset. In Part III we’ll wrap it up with 2 more hotel Wi-Fi myths.
By now we’re all well-aware that Wi-Fi is is a must-have...However, there are opposing forces at work making it increasingly difficult for hotels to deliver a high-performance guest Internet experience. Guests use an average of 2GB of data per month on their 2.9 devices (Skift). The average cost of a network installation is $300,000 and $5,000 per month for 500MB of data at a 500-room hotel (Meetings&Conventions, Cloudflare). At the same time, guest willingness to pay for Wi-Fi is declining. According to a 2015 Hotels.com survey, 53% of hotel guests demand free and reliable Wi-Fi as a standard.
It was an exciting year for hospitality technology. Free Wi-Fi is more in demand than ever, robot butlers continue to make headlines, and mobile room keys are catching on. In an effort to curate the most relevant and interesting stuff, we rolled out 180 Tweets, 130 Facebook posts, 127 LinkedIn updates, 18 blog posts, 12 videos, 8 webinars, 6 infographics, and 2 in-depth white papers. According to all of you, here are our best content pieces from 2015:
BLOG POST: 8 HOSPITALITY TECH TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2015
Packed with the top tech trend reports for 2015, this post still holds true for 2016 with trends like smart appliances, smartphone apps, social media, and Internet management. Read the blog here
It comes as no surprise that today’s traveler gobbles up hotel bandwidth and comes back for seconds. With an increasing number of connected devices coming along on both business and leisure trips, it is difficult to keep up with the demand. Hundreds of guests carry an average of 3 devices and they all clamor to get connected in the lobby, guestrooms, and business center. With expectations for speedy Wi-Fi being at an all-time high, it is crucial to guest loyalty that hotels can deliver.
We had the pleasure of hosting the HTNG 2015 North American Forum Meeting in our hometown of Portland, Oregon last week. A record-breaking crowd of HTNG members gathered at Sentinel, a Provenance hotel in the heart of the city, to learn from and teach each other about the future of our industry. After events like these, our office buzzes with new life and fresh ideas and it’s customary for us to do a “download” of our key learnings.
The HTNG North American Fall Forum in Portland is quickly approaching and Eleven is so honored to be hosting! Here are the top 5 things you can get excited for:
Before you move forward with a lobby redesign or that landscaping project, make sure that your guests' most basic needs are being met. Frequent Business Traveler recently conducted the 2015 Hotel Pet Peeves Survey. Talking to nearly 2000 travelers around the world, expensive or slow Internet and lack of accessible electrical outlets were among their top pet peeves.
Finally, a bar you will want your employees to work in! Kimpton’s Eventi Hotel has implemented the “Business Bar” at their Chelsea, New York location. In exchange for drinks or Apple Genius’, this bar supplies guests with a number of gadgets for them to borrow during their stay. The best part? There’s no “open-gadget law” to speak of. You can wander all over the hotel with your borrowed laptop, tablet, Kindle, or GoPro without feeling shame from scornful eyes. Surf the web, print your boarding pass via wireless printing, or catch up on Netflix in your room. The possibilities are endless with this guest-pleasing amenity.
From the guest point of view, the rapidly changing face of travel can be hard to keep up with. Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, RelayRides, Hotel Tonight, and the growing number of OTAs all add to the new way to travel. Here are the other trends popping up according to the Huffington Post:
Ever since Hotel WiFi Test gained public recognition, guests have had hard data to use when applauding or criticizing hotels for their Wi-Fi speed. Now, Hotel Wi-Fi Test has launched a partner program for hotels. Hotels can test themselves and prove to guests that they can be confident in their Wi-Fi. While this is a nice opportunity for validation, the reality is that you should already be analyzing your Wi-Fi with tools provided by your HSIA provider. Graeme Powell highlighted the steps hotels should be taking to analyze their Wi-Fi in Data Analytics and Hotel WiFi. Here is what he uncovered:
With the rise of hospitality technology, comes the rise of guest technology demands. Mobile check-in, mobile room keys, and fast Wi-Fi are just the tip of the iceberg. Hospitality Technology reported the top IT-driven steps to meet the needs of travelers. Here’s what you need to know to satisfy your guests:
“It seems we no longer track industry changes by looking at the calendar, but instead by looking at our watches” - The Rapid Pace of Innovation in Travel
Skift recently reported on The Rapid Pace of Innovation in Travel. We are faced with the opportunity (and nuisance) of new technology consistently coming out that will “enhance the guest experience”. As exciting as new technology can be, it is important that it creates the kind of experience your guest actually wants. Here are some key points that stuck with us from the report:
- Customer First: The whole point of innovation is to add value for customers. Start with understanding the guest, then work to deliver something to meet or exceed their expectations.
- Embrace the New: Allow new technology to define and differentiate the value that you deliver to your customers. “Innovative technology will be about enabling a true travel experience.”
- Balance the Needs: Make sure that while you plan for what is needed tomorrow, you also put aside time to ensure stable operations for today. Balancing the two is the key to survival, the failure to do so would be fatal.
Check out the full Rapid Pace of Innovation in Travel article to learn more.
How do you keep up with innovation?
The HTNG North America Conference proved to open many doors for the hospitality technology world. Literally. Eleven’s CTO, Dan Lulich, walked away from the conference with the conclusion that we have entered the year of door locks. Guests want to walk directly to their room after a day of travel instead of making pleasantries with the front desk staff while they wait for a room key. Hotel brands have started to accommodate this with mobile apps that enable you to unlock your door. We just need to make sure to address the consequences of losing that initial guest touch point. The top 3 considerations for hotels when implementing a mobile key app are:
Imagine trying to hit a constantly moving target from 23,000 miles away. That’s essentially what the cruise industry is challenged with when trying to provide fast, reliable onboard Wi-Fi. To deliver bandwidth, the satellites (orbiting 23,000 miles overhead) have to connect with the ship while it moves through the ocean - not a simple task.
In an industry so focused on service, it is crucial to take a step back every once in a while to evaluate what services are actually wanted, needed, and demanded. Recently, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (with the help of STR) conducted a survey of 9600 properties. We’ve rounded up the top findings to define this year’s service standard:
“We should never get to the stage where we replace human interaction. Technology should enable and make processes that have taken too much effort become seamless, or connect us globally to make us better service providers.”
The “digital elite” encompasses travelers of all ages who are technologically savvy and operate on multiple devices. Technology isn’t just for millennials anymore; 7 in 10 of the “digital elite” are between 18 and 49 years old. Learn all you need to know about this growing population so you are prepared when they come knocking on your door.
“Millennials are technology-driven, social beings, visual learners, socially responsible, and more demanding than any generation before them”
Have you been avoiding millennial travelers? Deeming them “too much work” or “not worth the effort”? Well, you would be right. Almost. Millennials (defined by those born between 1980 and 1999) are more demanding than any generation before them. To put in the effort to attract and please millennials would entail completely rethinking your strategy, which could risk isolating other generations who have proven themselves loyal.
"These new travelers don’t need tons of handholding, they shun human interaction, and know their way around everywhere they go."
The elusive "silent traveler" skips traditional guest touch points in favor of digital options. Travel information star, Skift, first coined the term earlier this year when they predicted that in 2014 we would see the rise of the silent traveler - and rise they did. These guests are, for the most part, a sub-sect of the Millenial generation, a hot topic in hospitality industry chatter.
“Any meeting, regardless of size, must have the bandwidth to go paperless.”
It’s not just about being green, it’s about saving green. Hotels Magazine’s article, B.Y.O.B. (Bring your own bandwidth), cites a conversation with a conference and event management professional whose company recently decided to go completely digital. After they uncovered the high-cost of printed meeting materials, not to mention security concerns as a financial advisory company, the move was made to go paperless for any and all meetings. Not surprisingly, many companies are following suit
At the Skift Global Forum, Chip Conley (Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb) spoke about the future of the boutique guest experience. Chip has 27 years of experience as an innovator in the hospitality industry and has handled the creation and management of 52 boutique hotels.
Let's face the facts. Most things in life that initially sound wonderful often have a catch. "That new restaurant has an incredible menu!" (But the servers are rude.) "This new ice cream shop has the best flavors!" (But contains little nutritional value.) "I have the perfect guy for you!" (But he has commitment issues.) Unfortunately for the consumer, not all advertisements come with a quick talking voice at the end who rattles off disclaimers. Luckily we have online reviews to turn to. As a business this can cause problems if you have been toting the "we're amazing" model of advertising without ensuring that you don't have that "but" factor.
Consumers are depending on their mobile phones more and more for information. While it is important to capitalize on this by optimizing your website for mobile with a responsive design, it extends further than that. iBeacon technology is the next stage for mobile use in hotels, and to jump on board now would give your property an early adopter advantage.
To assume that travelers will settle for a lousy connection or no connection at all is a monumental mistake. Honeywell recently put out a report that looked at U.S. travelers and their need for connectivity speed for in-flight Wi-Fi. If this is how desperate travelers are when they fly, just imagine what they want by the time they reach the hotel!
As stated in our Mobile Revolution and the Millennial Traveler post, the largest number of hotel mobile site visitors are over 55. The Baby Boomers are quickly becoming consumers of mobile technology, and with their control of over 50% of discretionary spending and retirement rapidly approaching, they are a group you want to connect with.
As hoteliers, you can no longer turn a blind eye to the mobile revolution. The time to adapt is now, and the millennial traveler will no longer be forgiving of Wi-Fi and mobile phone inadequacies.
It is no secret that hotel guests today demand Wi-Fi. To tell a guest that Internet is not available, you might as well say that they only have candlelight in their rooms. Wi-Fi has simply become an expectation. The part that you still control is how much to give and how best to offer it.
PART I of this series covered the top 4 guest Internet trends and in PART II we highlighted 3 ways to optimize your guest Internet. In this post, we’ll explore opportunities for monetizing guest Internet.
In PART I of this series, we explored the top tech trends that are affecting guest Internet.
In order to make recommendations for optimizing and monetizing your guest network, we first must identify the top top tech trends that are affecting guest Internet:
In a recent TrustYou study of 1.57 million travelers and reviews, they offer a comparison of business and leisure travelers. Some interesting statistics are below:
In the recent Choice Hotels International “Road Warrior Survey” conducted by research company, Newlio, over 500 US business travelers who took trips between March 2013 and February 2014 were surveyed to reveal several interesting trends:
In a recent Benchmark Hospitality study they announce 10 top trends in among the travel industry. The study used their database of professional travel agents, who surveyed over 20,000 domestic and international travel professionals on leisure and business travel in 2014.
In the recent article, Tiered Wi-Fi Emerges as New Industry Model, HotelNewsNow.com contributor, John Buchanan, reports that complimentary Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous with limited and select-service hotels, while more full-service properties offer tiered bandwidth plans.
In the 2014 Hospitality Technology Magazine Hotel Technology Study (accessible with registration) they took a close look at hotel budgets from 2011 to 2014. The study surveyed over 50 executives in charge of more than 40,000 US-based properties, representing a mix of full and limited service brands.
There’s no quick answer when solving the loyalty equation, but with business travelers today carrying an average of 2.68 devices, digital and mobile services certainly need to be part of the mix. Guests are increasingly turning to mobile to get more value out of their travel experiences, from booking hotels online to checking social media reviews.
A recent study conducted in Spain, found that 66% of guests would pay for mobile Wi-Fi. Patrick Mayock, editor-in-chief of HotelNewsNow, participated in the study and wrote about it in this article. The study, done as a pilot project, allowed guests staying at ME Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel and Hospes Madrid Hotel to try a portable router device which allowed guests to have a 4G connection, the fastest speed available in Spain. Maycock said his Wi-Fi experience during the study was the best he’d ever had. The overall results reveal other interesting guest behaviors highlighted below:
Preparing your property for Passpoint will take preparation and resources, but we believe it is well worth it because guests will have richer and more personalized online experiences at your property.
Meetings and tradeshows are requiring greater technology integration, especially with increased demand for high performance Wi-Fi. Consider that the average business traveler carries 2.7 devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops - that’s a lot of data and bandwidth. Travelers are checking email, updating social media, and even uploading photos and streaming video.
By Andrew Harrison, Eleven Product Marketing & Sales Enablement Manager
Today, you typically gain Internet access at hotels by typing your identity (and/or payment) information into a captive portal login page after connecting to a specific Wi-Fi hotspot. There are several issues with today’s connection process, including:
The HTNG Conference, which we covered in our last post, is officially in full swing and we want to brief you on what was said to be one of Monday’s most valuable take away presented by our own, Eric Sullender, Eleven director of products.
The Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) association is heavily invested in solving hospitality’s biggest technology challenges. The HTNG annual North American conference kicks off today at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn in California. The conference is focused on helping hoteliers gain a better understanding of hotel technology and future trends.
The recent hack at White Lodging Hotels Group following the data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, serve as harsh reminders that all businesses, both large and small, are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The availability of digital devices and applications has more than doubled in recent years. We are more connected than ever with greater demand for richer, more personalized experiences and faster access to information.
There’s more demand than ever on guest networks. The challenge lies in the ever-increasing number of Wi-Fi enabled devices, along with ever-increasing demand for bandwidth to support more activity. It has become not just a one time upgrade, but an ongoing cycle where hoteliers must foot the bill.
From having your favorite coffee brand in your room to telling the hotel staff exactly what type of pillow you would like upon arrival, hotels are stepping up their personalization game. Millennials get a lot of credit for demanding personalized serviced, but we think the most credit should go to technology.
You might think the title of this recent HotelNewsNow.com article says it all: The Inevitability of Free Wi-Fi. However, author Ed Watkins admits that Loews, the most recent hotel brand to offer free Wi-Fi in all guestrooms, “might just be an outlier.”
A recent customer survey gave us insight into what hoteliers want out of their guest technology, namely our five-star guest computing software, ElevenGC. The most important guest computing features identified by hotels are:
The article name says it all: Traveler’s Will Smile about Service, but are Irate over Internet. Upon reading the complete report from which the article was based, we found some interesting data that supports that guest networks are in fact improving (at least in the US), even if the change is slow.
Although we’ve been covering technology trends a lot lately, this recent poll, conducted by SmartBrief.com (sponsored by The Wall Street Journal), explores how guests’ demands are changing with the technological environment—not just what the tech industry is projecting. The results below are those we found the most relevant to the hospitality industry today.
In IDC’s (International Data Corporation) recent press release and as covered by Forbes.com, the IDC predicts next year will be a year of transition into IT’s “3rd Platform”, the emerging mobile computing movement, including cloud services, data analysis, and social networking. Effects on the hospitality industry have the potential to be transformative; we’ve summarized and evaluated how these might effect you below:
Many of the major brands, including Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, and IHG, are all turning to guests to shape the future of hotel design. In an era of consumer-driven products, hotels are viewing guests as valuable information centers.
In a recent Hospitality Trends article they share top data analytics trends, challenges, and opportunities in the travel industry. We’ve summarized how you can amplify your business with analytics below.
The recent results of TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer Mobile and Social Survey report trends taking shape in both the U.S. and global travel industries. Below are the highlights.
In a recent 4Hoteliers.com’s article, the author addresses several changes in the hospitality industry driven by today’s guests. Below we highlight the top four technology related changes:
In a recent Tnooz webinar, experts in the travel industry examined what travelers are really looking for in technology. Here are a few of the highlights:
A reliable Wi-Fi experience is undeniably one of most important sought after guest amenities, so much so that it is now referred to more often as a necessity or a commodity. Author and hospitality IT consultant, Jeremy Rock, sheds more light on Internet as both an amenity and necessity in his Hospitality Upgrade article, Internet Access – It Better Work!
We’ve heard it time and time (and time) again over the past couple of years – guests are demanding at least a basic level of free Wi-Fi. As hoteliers begin to acknowledge this demand, they are looking for other ways to monetize their guest Internet, and they’ve started to get creative.
Installing or upgrading a Wi-Fi network requires heavy investment in infrastructure, design, implementation, management, and security. Add to that an unstandardized sea of solutions and you have the source of a lot of research, headache, and lag in resolution.
In Smith Micro’s second Annual Hospitality Survey they site increased adoption and use of tablets while traveling. Below are the highlights from the survey:
Hotels are delivering more amenities than ever before—Tempur-Pedic beds, wellness programs, and custom toiletries are just a few. But with the myriad technology-based amenities that are available now, there are a select few that provide services that actually enhance the guests’ experience. Eleven commends these 3 hotel clients that have made sensible and basic technology enhancements that we believe are setting a precedent for tech-based amenities.
Known as a reliable and consistent major hotel brand Holiday Inn Express® by 40-somethings to Baby Boomers, the Holiday Inn brand is adding features and amenities to attract the next generation of travelers—Millennials.
The recently published Lodging Technology Study by Hospitality Technology reveals trends and future development in the industry spurted by the increasing amount of Wi-Fi-enabled guest devices. These 8 trends summarize the findings from the study.
In a recent study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) event planners, third party vendors, and sales managers identified WiFi, Virtual Meetings, Social Media, and Mobile Apps as important considerations in determining where to host offsite meetings and events. Second to those were audience response systems, badge screening, and cloud computing, with audio/video support and computers as a “given.” Insights on the top 4 technology aspects are detailed below.
According to a recent Hotel News Now article, tech-savvy folks do more traveling and hoteliers that connect with them on their mobile devices will reap rewards. The mobile channel is increasingly convenient for marketers; the challenge is keeping consistency across all devices throughout their experience including inspiration, research, validation, booking, confirmation, travel planning, and memory sharing.
Dan Lulich, Chief Technology Officer at Eleven
The recently published Lodging Technology Study by Hospitality Technology reveals trends and future development in the industry spurted by the increasing amount of Wi-Fi-enabled guest devices. These 7 trends summarize the findings we found most relevant from the study.
Millenials, also known as Gen Y, the group of 18 to 32 year olds now makes up over 30% of the U.S. workforce (USA Today). As the fastest growing segment of the workforce and business travelers, Millennials have been on the travel industry’s radar. They are also on track to be the largest consumer group in U.S history with an estimated population of about 70 million (USA Today).
According to this Hotel Management article a growing amount of tourist-attracting cities are offering free Internet access. Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis, and possibly Los Angeles are amongst some that offer free Wi-Fi within city limits.
Complimentary versus premium Internet continues to hog the hospitality spotlight; this Huffington Post article outlines several reasons you should not charge for Internet. More than ever, people feel that Wi-Fi is as much a commodity as a bed to sleep in or a lock on the door.
“Guest devices are re-architecting the hotel experience.”
– Hospitality Technology | Customer Engagement Technology Study 2013
According to the J.D. Power 2013 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, the quality of Internet service remains the top complaint experienced by guests and it has the largest impact on overall guest experience and satisfaction.
In our last post, 5 Mobile Trends to Watch, we discussed the recommendations for adopting a mobile strategy at your hotel. This week we explore how tablets in particular are taxing guest networks, and what can be done about it.
If you’re a business traveler, you know how important it is to stay connected – both for personal and business reasons. You also know how frustrating it is when your connection is lousy and/or slow.
According to the J.D. Power & Associates 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, overall guest satisfaction was rated 777 out of 1,000 this year; 20 points up from 2012. This marks the highest score since 2006, when the index was introduced.
Hotel systems are moving to the cloud more quickly than ever - telephones, TV's, room management systems, keycard solutions, and more are all beginning to live on the same network. Additionally, hotels provide Internet connection to guest rooms, the lobby, the restaurant, conference rooms - the list goes on. Add to that guests who carry 2 or 3 devices and you have a serious lack of bandwidth issue.
With 80-85% of business travelers carrying smartphones (Leposa 2013), there’s no question that digital technology, namely mobile technology, is changing the way we communicate and get around. Meetings and conferences already look and feel completely different than they did 10 years ago.
Mobile check-ins, virtual concierges, and digital room keys are just a few of the emerging tech trends we see in hospitality. Unfortunately, many of these advancements in technology are clogging up already taxed Internet connections. Hotels built in 2010 and earlier are already out-of-date; the infrastructures simply weren’t built for the heavy use of bandwidth we see today. Many hotel networks can barely handle the amount of users that login for work and emails.
In a major global study done by travel technology provider, Amadeus, they study the challenges and potential benefits of being able to sift through the massive volume of unstructured data, known as “big data.” The findings put pressure on our industry to take the steps to begin establishing a foothold on big data.
Today’s travelers carry smartphones, laptops, and tablets, which means your guests are researching, booking, and interacting with your brand through multiple channels simultaneously. According to Tnooz, guests “want to have engaging experiences that allow them to enjoy the benefits of an experience on multiple devices.”
In HSMAI’s recent roundtable discussion they uncover the technology issues holding back the hospitality industry. We’ve distilled the conversation into 3 main challenges:
- BYOD: Stands for “Bring Your Own Device” – the number of that travel with their own smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. – continues to rise.
- Service Automation: More guests are opting to interact with hotel staff through technology, using mobile apps and tablets for check-ins and more.
- Digital Signage: Live, interactive displays are starting to replace traditional, printed signage and informational packets.
- Connected Meeting Spaces: Meeting planners can communicate electronically in real-time facilitating faster and more efficient service.
- Free Wi-Fi: Offering Wi-Fi in lobbies, restaurants, and other public areas can increase guest spending up to 25% to 40%. (HotelNewsNow.com July 2013)
- Tech Hub Lobbies: Flight information, local restaurants and events, and interactive mobile apps have reinvented lobbies as information epicenters.
- Social Media: More hotels are using online communities to help build stronger relationships with guests and make business decisions with surveys and contests.
- Luxury Technology: A new variety of technology is showing up in high-end hotels, like interactive televisions, and tablets loaded with magazines and games.
- Extended Office Space: More hotels are making non-guest revenue from their meeting spaces to lend to businesses for out-of-the-office meetings.
An adaptation of a HotelNewsNow.com article, you can read more here.
In a recent article, My Love & Hate Relationship with Hotel Wi-Fi, author, Om Malik, shares similar laments as fellow business travelers – hotel Wi-Fi stinks (usually). Even paying for an upgrade doesn’t guarantee adequate bandwidth; as more people are streaming more data (music, video) and downloading and uploading more content (cloud storage, etc.) older hotel networks simply can’t keep up.
In a recent HotelNewsNow.com article, they give a perfect example of how splitting a hotel into two brands can reap benefits for a hotel. The example they use, MainStay Suites in Port St. Lucie in Florida, was reconfigured to include a Sleep Inn. It acted as a reprieve for retirees in the winter and a way to appeal to the drive-by traffic as just a place for a night’s stay.
SoLoMo is an acronym for social, local, and mobile. Today’s travelers are constantly connected through smartphones, seemingly ubiquitous Internet access, and nearly constant access to social media. The convergence of these technologies makes it easier for even the smallest hotel to connect with guests.
Recently published survey results about lodging tech trends done by Hotel Interactive reveal some great opportunities for hoteliers. We drilled down the data to summarize what you should be focusing on as far as new technology in your hotel:
As published in this article, 67% of European hotels offer free Wi-Fi, more than hotels in the US. However, it’s not just about “free” – adequate bandwidth must also be part of the conversation.
Shaun has been with Eleven for only a year and half and has become an integral part of the team. Stepping up and acting in this leadership role for the past several months; it’s no surprise how quickly he was promoted. Recently promoted from Technical Support Specialist we know he will thrive in his new role of Support Team Lead for all ElevenBC products.
In his relatively short time here Shaun has taken the initiative to become well versed in all of Eleven’s products including our guest Internet management software, ElevenOS. He also acts as a back up for our Senior Systems Engineer. It is a pleasure to have him as a member of the Eleven team.
Everyone at Eleven appreciates Shaun’s welcoming personality and take-action attitude. He never waits for someone else to follow up; he gets to the base of any issue and has a passion to see projects to completion.
Fave Food: Sandwiches!
Fave Movie: They Live
Fave Band: Boards of Canada
Power Animal: A sheagle: half shark and half eagle.
We will continue to introduce members of the Eleven team throughout the year so you can better get to know the Eleven team.
We’ve been talking a lot about conferences lately because now is the time to start planning for next year’s conference traffic. (See our Conference Internet series and 11 Ways to Boost Conference Business.)
Earlier this week, we highlighted how Millennials are important to your business. In this article we’ve sifted through several articles to bring you the most relevant tips to appeal to this digitally enhanced and influential group.
Who are the Millennials?
In Part I and Part II of this Conference Internet series, we’ve covered bandwidth allocation and attendee considerations. We identified the key aspects of CSMS, like creating access codes and allocating higher-speed Internet access to specific users based on the size and type of event. In the third and final installment of this series, we will explain additional revenue opportunities for your conference space.
In Part I of this Conference Internet series, Bandwidth Allocation, we examined the function of CSMS as an intuitive software tool for managing and provisioning Internet bandwidth at conferences. In Part II, we will talk about attendee-specific considerations, like doling out access codes, managing role-based permissions, and the proliferation of mobile devices.
Hotels around the country are seeing strong demand for meeting rooms with high-performing networks, and these conferences are generally highly profitable. Even if you offer free Wi-Fi in other parts of your hotel, charging for Internet usage at conferences and meetings can yield high margins.
A new segment of high-end, yet economic, hotels that cater to Millennials have arrrived. Some examples of these are Marriott’s new Moxy Hotels, and in a more recent article, Larry Mogelonsky writes about the ALT Hotel brand, citizenM, and Yotel.
As notoriously fickle Millennials enter the market, it is more important than ever to give guests a distinctive experience. “Hotels must find ways to connect with Gen Yers on an emotional level, which isn’t easy,” says Rick Garlick, Ph.D in this Hospitality Net article.
Interactive walls, a digital floor display, adjustable bathroom privacy – all futuristic amenities, that designers say aren’t far from reality for hotel rooms in this CNN travel article. The common theme we see throughout these and other predictions is interactivity – amenities that allow guests to interact directly with their surroundings. This trend speaks to the growing desire for people to be connected 24/7.
The demand for free Wi-Fi has not faded in 2013 – according to this recent article by Hotels.com it has again topped the list of must-have amenities for both leisure and business travelers. Surpassing free parking and complimentary breakfast, the demand for free Wi-Fi speaks to the changing needs of your guests; they want to be connected.
What if you could side-step the front desk and go directly to your room or sit down with a drink and some food while someone checked you in on a tablet? An article by Joe Brancatelli, a columnist for The Business Journals, describes various forms of check-in that are eliminating the need for the traditional front desk.
Nearly everyone uses a smartphone nowadays. Recently, one of my coworkers admitted that if she forgets her phone at home she always goes back home to get it because her day is a total loss without it. A whopping 68% of smartphone owners sleep with their mobile device within arm’s length. It’s safe to say that the majority of us are “mobile-dependent.”
Published by Hospitality.net earlier this year was a great article that made recommendations for 10 digital marketing resolutions that you should make this year as a hotelier. The downside is that it’s quite lengthy. To save you time, we’ve distilled the list down to the highlights:
In Los Angeles at the opening of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, data collectors remarked on evidence showing continued growth of demand and limited supply, which they expect will bring the industry back to high performance levels experienced in 2007.
When we get more services that allow us to control our experience, we are often happier guests. So, what’s holding our industry back from going completely digital for check-ins and other services?
We all know mobile use is reaching new heights all the time, but how does this affect your business? One of the core things to know is how you will accommodate mobile consumers; we’ve summed it up below.
Whether you know it or not, you are most likely using the cloud on a daily basis. “The Cloud” refers to Internet services that allow you to store data, like emails, music, and documents in places outside your physical vicinity. Previous to cloud computing, we saved data to floppy discs, hard drives, and CDs. Now we store much of our data virtually in servers outside of our homes and offices. That storage is considered in the cloud. It can refer to various providers from Google’s Gmail or Drive, Pandora, Instagram, and Amazon, as examples. When people refer to the cloud, they are referring to all of those.
In hospitality technology there has been a lot of talk about “big data.” What does it mean and why is it important? This infographic, published by Tnooz, does a great job explaining. Basically “big data” encompasses any data produced from all kinds of activities. This includes data from smartphones, social media, even sensors in casino chips.
Although it may seem trivial, the possibilities to analyze data from your property alone could mean better service and ultimately, revenue generation. Imagine knowing guests’ preferences as soon as they walk in the door—from what they like for breakfast to shopping habits. Analyzing data to offer more products and services that add value to your guests’ stay and allow you to increase guest satisfaction and revenue.
In a August 2011 article, Ten Reasons Why Big Data Will Change the Travel Industry, Timothy O’Neil-Dunne was already thinking about the possibilities. He predicts that big data will play an important role in bringing big media and big telecom back to travel. A great example is Google’s recent investment in online travel, which allow them to use data in the underdeveloped hospitality industry.
According to a recent Tnooz article, venture capitalist agencies invested $10 million in Duetto Research, a company who specializes in hospitality revenue management and technology. They will join the race to efficiently capture, process, and manage big data first. Google and certain social media companies (think Facebook and Twitter) currently have a good foothold on data curating; it will be interesting to watch the big data pursuit unfold.
What do you envision for the future of big data in hospitality? Have you started collecting any big data of your own?
Be prepared with two more articles about hospitality’s evolving technology:
Remember those Cliff’s Notes that saved you more than once in school? Well, in the last few blog posts, we discussed the industry predictions for the New Year. Here are the highlights to help you catch up:
HotelNewsNow asked several big brand executives about their expectations for the year ahead. Several key hospitality challenges are discussed, many of which focus on technology in one way or another. A common theme among the opportunities discussed by the execs is using technology to reinvent guest engagement. Here are a few highlights of the opportunities 2013 holds:
In Barbara Delollis’ recent article, she describes how many brands in the boutique hotel industry are moving to iPads for virtual concierge services. In a recent highlight of the article by Hospitality Technology, they refer to this movement being spurred by “tech-savvy
To follow our Perfect Bandwidth Storm series, here’s an interesting article that asked industry experts to evaluate an assumption about the future of HSIA in the hospitality industry and what it would mean for bandwidth demand. In the article, the author, Dan Phillips, admits to making incorrect assumptions and speaks to several other industry experts to get opinions on where our industry is going in terms of HSIA. The overall consensus supports much of what we covered in the Perfect Bandwidth Storm series.
In Part I & Part II of The Perfect Bandwidth Storm series we explored the ways guests are consuming technology and how hoteliers are serving it up. The rise in mobile devices alone has created bandwidth shortages; couple that with cloud computing and you’ve got “the perfect storm” for bandwidth consumption. And it doesn’t stop there.
In The Perfect Bandwidth Storm I: Guests Expect More, we covered guest behavior changes that increase the need for more bandwidth. Now in Part II, we’ll dive into hospitality management-specific technology.
We work dramatically different than we did just a few years ago. Instead of desks, we are tethered to smartphones, tablets, and laptops. We communicate more and more via videoconferences, webinars and VoIP phone calls. This shift means the average business traveler has vastly different needs than he did a few years ago and he expects your hotel to meet them.
Smart hoteliers are working to keep up with this change by providing open areas for networking, smaller private meetings spaces, and more. The true challenge will be to provide an environment where service and experience capture visitors and turn them into loyal guests.
Providing the right environment for technology will play a large part in a hotel’s success and that means making some changes. Properly located plugins and sleek, comfortable furniture will help but arguably the biggest and most expensive change will be providing adequate bandwidth levels. Without increased bandwidth to support this shift in guest behavior, the guest experience will suffer.
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this 3-part series where we explore two other factors creating The Perfect Bandwidth Storm: hospitality technology and guest computing.
Do you have technology updates budgeted for 2013 that will enhance the guest experience at your hotel?
The saying used to be “Location, location, location,” but this mantra is quickly changing. As hospitality becomes more innovative with technological advances, there is an increasing need for bandwidth to handle all of these modern amenities.
The last few weeks we have been heavily focused on the future of hotel technology. Apparently, we are not the only ones noticing some of these major trends. Recently, the Huffington Post featured 12 hotels around the world that have pushed the boundaries of innovation in terms of their guest technologies. From the Yotel in NYC where you will find "Yobot," a 15-foot automated luggage handler that selects and moves luggage from a very large luggage rack in order to organize all of the pieces received each day during check-in to the Setai, also in New York, where each guest room bathroom has a flats screen TV embedded into the mirror, these hotels are bound to impress you. Check out the slideshow here.
After only 6 months on the job as president and CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts, Paul Whetsell is making good on his promise to grow the brand. HotelNewsNow.com caught up with him during a break at the 34th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference earlier this month, and Whetsell shared that he plans to double the size of the brand by the end of 2015. According to Whetsell “I came in with a couple of objectives; one was to broaden the customer base of Lowes. You do that in two ways – you do it organically by enhancing your own sales-and-marketing programs, and then you add distribution.” To kick off this expansion, the company recently acquired the 632-room Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Hollywood, California. They plan to begin a $26-million renovation later this year that will include many innovative changes on the technology side. To read more of Whetsell’s plans to grow the Lowes brand, click here.
As we gear up for the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) next week in Baltimore, MD, there has been a lot of discussion about the future of technology in the hospitality industry. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Kathleen Taylor, the CEO of Four Seasons Hotels stated “Technology is one of the leading edge issues for consumers in all segments. It’s less an amenity and more like hot water, in the sense that everyone is expected to have it.” Ms. Taylor also spoke to what they have done to address the hot issue of charging for Wi-Fi in their properties. Many travelers these days are frustrated with properties that charge for Wi-Fi access, and strongly believe it should be complimentary. In order to overcome this problem, many Four Seasons properties have gone to the tiered model where there is either no charge or a lower charge for basic access so guests can check email or surf the web, and then a higher charge for guests that want to stream, download, or watch TV on their device. Ms. Taylor acknowledged that not every guests needs a lot of bandwidth so this allows them to better tailor to their customers needs and charge accordingly. To read the full interview with Kathleen Taylor, click here.
It is no question that technology has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. From iPods and tablets to smart phones and laptops, these days’ travelers are arriving at hotels with a multitude of mobile devices. Unfortunately, many hotels have not been able to embrace technology in quite the same way, failing to provide guests a way to plug in and integrate with the hotel. Some hotels have a stronger vision of the future and have begun to heavily invest in upgrading their technology to keep pace with their digital savvy guests. One of the major drivers behind this shifting attitude is that hotels are realizing the opportunity to stand out in the market by offering new and appealing technologies to their guests. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to generate additional revenue. To read more about these trends as well as some great examples of new hotel technologies, click here.
Coming out of the most recent recession, hoteliers have been brainstorming ways to differentiate themselves and generate more revenue. Many hotels have turned to technology to accomplish this goal. Hilton Worldwide is a perfect example of this growing trend. Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, recently launched the Hilton Design Studio (HDS), a new online tool that transforms the way in which owners, developers, and design firms implement the brand’s forward-thinking strategy. Hilton innovated even further with the recently unveiled Hilton Connectivity Station, a new solution for owners of properties with smaller lobby space that brings the traditional business center away from the back of the hotel and into the lobby. This solution offers both business and leisure guests the ability to access the Internet in a variety of different ways to check email, surf the web, or simply print their boarding pass. According to Hospitality Technology “The Hilton Connectivity Station features a user friendly and inviting station within the lobby environment that is complete with furniture in four and six-seat configurations and computer hardware.” This ready to use owner solution gives the hotelier the opportunity to enhance the guest experience and increase revenue all at the same time. For more on Hilton’s innovative new concepts, read the full article here.
Whether it’s an in room iPad where guests can order room service or schedule a massage, or the ability for guests to use their smartphones as a room key, one thing is certain – many hotels have invested heavily in technology to appeal to the growing tech-savvy clientele. Over the years, not all hotels have kept pace with new technologies. However as technology continues to become more and more intertwined into guests’ daily lives, those that do not invest in keeping up with new trends are going to be at a serious disadvantage. “Technology is increasingly becoming a brand differentiator for hotels and chains which want to identify with a certain market,” says Katherine Doggrell, editor of Hotel Analyst Distribution & Technology. To read more about the innovative technology improvements hotels are making, check out Tim Hume’s article “High-tech Hotels a Hit with Geeky Guests” here.
It’s no surprise that hotel guests these days expect Wi-Fi where they stay. Moreover, most guests believe Wi-Fi should be free and are frustrated when they find out they have to pay. Another common gripe of hotel guests is the inconsistency between hotels; for example the five star Hilton Mayfair in London charges $32 per day whereas the Four Seasons offers complementary Wi-Fi for basic use like e-mailing and surfing the web. Guests believe Wi-Fi should be free, especially in these luxury hotels. However, what they don’t understand is that when a hotel charges for Wi-Fi, they are guaranteeing reliability, high speed, and the highest level of security. Furthermore, guests these days are arriving at hotels with smartphones, tablets, and laptops in hand – all devices that require a lot of bandwidth. Hotels must constantly re-invest and adopt newer technologies to handle this increasing demand for bandwidth. This can be an expensive investment, and in order to keep up, they must find ways to cover these costs. To read more on this topic take a look at Ayesha Durgahee’s article “Why Are We Still Paying for Hotel Wi-Fi” here.
Bandwidth. In the hospitality IT industry, this buzzword is one that continues to pop up over and over these days because it is so essential to guest satisfaction. With the introduction of smart phones and tablets, consumers have begun to arrive at hotels with multiple wireless devices in hand, thus placing considerable stress on hotel wireless networks. Hotels are now faced with new challenges; do they purchase additional Internet bandwidth, which can be very expensive? Or do they renovate the property’s wireless infrastructure, also something that is very costly? One solution many hotels are turning to is the tiered bandwidth model that we have discussed before, where a guest who wants to surf the web and check email can use the internet for free, but if a guest wants to stream movies online or download large data files, they have to pay. To read more, check out Andrew Scheivachman’s article “Wireless Demand Hard on Broadband Networks” here.
The hospitality industry has come a long way in the last eight years, especially in terms of Internet technology. Looking back at HotelChatter’s first annual Hotel Wi-Fi report from 2004 when Eleven was one of a handful of Wi-Fi providers, the only concern was which hotels offered Wi-Fi in guest rooms or lobbies, and of the few that did, which hotels provided it for free.
As they pull out of the recent recession, many hoteliers are focusing even more on their younger travelers, the Millennial Generation. Comprised mostly of people in their 20’s to mid-30’s, Millennials are obsessed with technology, often walking into a hotel texting on their Smartphone while listening to their iPod, with their laptop and iPad tucked neatly in their bags. All of these devices are ones that require the Internet. “High speed Internet is almost like air to Millennials,” stated Bjorn Hanson, a divisional dean of Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University. To respond to this, many hotels are remodeling to offer more welcoming “technology lounge” inspired lobbies, with Wi-Fi, comfortable furniture, Art Deco furnishings, and stylish bars connected to the lobby where guests can sip a martini as they surf the web.
It is no surprise that when choosing a hotel, Wi-Fi is the #1 amenity customers demand. Most hoteliers know this, and realize that if they are to stay ahead of the competition, it’s imperative that they provide their guests with the best online experience possible. In Jill Schensul’s article “Hotels strain to meet Wi-Fi demand,” Stuart Greif, vice president and GM of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power and Associates stated “Guests increasingly expect hotels to offer Internet access that is consistently available and working properly, we have reached a point where problems with Internet access will more severely impact guest satisfaction levels with each passing year.”
The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) was held last month at the LA Live convention complex in Los Angeles. During this conference, USA Today gathered five of the industry’s top executives to discuss recent industry trends and developments. Recognizing the challenge of tech-savvy guests with much different expectations than guests of prior generations, these CEO’s discussed a variety of different topics from innovative new technologies to improving the guest experience and addressing hot issues such as hotel Internet fees.
We live in a wired world, and more recently a wireless one. So, it was no surprise that TripAdvisor’s recent study found that an excellent Wi-Fi system is imperative to attracting guests to your hotel. However, what was surprising was the fact that of the users and hotel representatives TripAdvisor polled, they found that 54% of travelers have actually canceled a prior reservation after finding better amenities at another hotel. When you consider the fact that travelers agree that Wi-Fi is the most important amenity a hotel can offer, it becomes clear that providing best in class Wi-Fi is a great way to set yourself apart from other hotels. For more about this study, click here.
Hotels.com recently released a survey and free Wi-Fi topped the list of must-have amenities when selecting their hotel. Not surprising as survey after survey reveals that Wi-Fi has become an essential component of a good hotel stay. On the flip side, and equally unsurprising, bathroom phones are the least used hotel amenity…no explanation is needed! Click here to read about the survey results in detail.
There can be a broad disconnect between desired WiFi at hotels and what is currently provided. Mobile devices are touting higher megapixel cameras with high definition video. In short, that means data is getting exponentially larger. Most consumers and hotel guests don’t understand how this impacts WiFi systems which can negatively determine service reviews. We foresee broadband consumption among guests growing very rapidly in 2012 and below Lisa Terry of Hospitality Technology outlines some actionable solutions for hotels to prepare. Even Eleven contributes to the article!
Wireless Internet access is one of the top 5 “must have” amenities hotel guests are demanding according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. Susan Stellin of the New York Times recently published an article, “Make hotel guests happy with tech amenities” in which she also identified Internet access as one of the top factors in a positive guest experience. However many guests just hate paying for wi-fi; they are used to getting it free at coffee shops and most select service hotels. According to A. Pawlowskim of CNN, in an article titled “Internet fee irritates hotel guests” some of today’s largest high-class hotel brands are charging their guests for Internet, while budget brands even owned by the same company, are giving it away for free. This not only frustrates guests, but also baffles them. Unfortunately, guests also hate unreliable or slow Internet. This leaves hotels with a tough conundrum.