If you work in the world of hospitality, you’ll be all too aware that the WiFi arms race has already begun. And that’s especially true if you operate a hotel.

Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It’s an integral part of most travellers’ daily lives and a basic expectation. Which explains why so many hotel guests say that fast and secure WiFi connectivity is the most desired amenity they look for when staying away from home.

So much so, that they’re using websites like Hotelwifitest.com to get the low-down on what quality of WiFi is on offer at a hotel – and whether they’ll have to pay to get it – before making a booking. Hotel WiFi Test ranks Internet connection speeds at some of the world’s top hotels, with people running speed tests through the site while staying at the hotel in question. Reviews are aggregated to give an expected internet speed, along with a confidence score to show how thoroughly the hotel has been tested.

But the site doesn’t just showcase which hotels have the fastest WiFi. It also reveals those with slow connections.

Why the customer is WiFi King

Changing customer expectations means the pressure is on hotel operators – both big name chains and small independents – to offer a better and free WiFi service.

Whether that’s via a loyalty programme that rewards guests who book directly, rather than through third-party booking sites like Expedia.

Or by offering a good free WiFi service that’s good enough for work emails and basic collaboration, but which guests can pay to upgrade if they wish to take advantage of faster connectivity that allows them to seamlessly stream their own content.

Why?

Well, if you’re a business traveler then good, reliable WiFi is going to be a must have. Which means poor coverage, limited capacity and slow connections are all going to represents big frustrations that get in the way of being productive when on the road.

But it turns out that when it comes to WiFi, we’re all addicted. Because a survey conducted by English hotelier Roomzz reveals that 65% of hotel guests go online within seven minutes of checking in – with one-third requesting a WiFi password as soon as they arrive.

According to the study, hotel guests most frequently used WiFi to check the weather in their location, with a quarter saying they ignored the television and used WiFi to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime or other streaming services.

Going beyond WiFi – delight your guests

The good news is that today, initiating a robust WiFi experience is simplicity itself – even for small hoteliers or B&B operators. Cisco’s Mobility Express solutions, for example, can be deployed in just five minutes and without the need for dedicated IT staff and makes it easy to partition a secure guest WiFi network for guests on a single combined network that staff can use too.

Combined with Connected Mobile Experience (CMX), Cisco’s location-based solution, you can gain real-time information and analytics on your hotel’s most popular locations – front desk, restaurant, or gift shop – and guest preferences.

What’s more, you can use WiFi to enhance the guest experience by offering automated guest check-in/checkout, mobile access to housekeeping, room service and guest services. You can even send guests live hotel related updates and promotions while they’re on site – incentivising them to spend additional time and money in your facilities or rewarding regular stayers with a special treat in recognition of their continued custom.

These days every hotel needs a high performance public WiFi that delivers a fast and stable connection with easy log in, no coverage blackspots and safe web access.

And, as we’ve seen, Cisco Mobility Express and Connected Mobile Experiences can provide the analytics and insights hotel management teams need to revitalise and personalise guest engagement and business objectives.