31 Oct 2016
Words My Port
Study after study has shown WiFi is now considered by guests to be one of the most important accommodation amenities. One guest survey even revealed more than 80% would not return to establishments where they’d had a poor Internet experience.
Bad WiFi, regardless of whether it’s free to guests or charged, will cost you valuable business. It could even be your biggest single barrier to business growth.
But it’s not just accommodation owners and operators who are putting the Wi-Fi issue in the ‘too hard’ or ‘too costly’ basket. Some WiFi providers are guilty too, still promoting outdated solutions because they make it easier (cheaper) to sign-up unsuspecting operators.
Myport has been a leader in WiFi network solutions for over 10 years, catering to an array of industries including residential buildings, hotels and resorts, hospitality, retail and events.
Operators and managers everywhere, regardless of the size of their property, face the same challenge – old and inadequate legacy infrastructure.
“Five to 10 years ago, providers installed WiFi systems for free and, in return, sold Internet access to holiday guests,” explained Myport general manager, Chris Hawke.
“This model worked well for hotels, holiday guests and wireless providers. But the main challenge with these legacy systems for today’s useage is that they were designed to provide connectivity mostly for laptops.
“Over recent years, everyone has moved to using smart phones and tablets, and customers expect to be able to connect from anywhere in an apartment.
“But if you have access points in a hallway or external access points in the garden where everyone shares the same wireless router, you just can’t guarantee the best coverage, speed and reliability that customers expect.”
Chris said families now use many devices simultaneously, so the old systems simply can’t cope with the demand.
“External and hallway systems are still being installed, but Myport won’t go down that route because, in the long run, we want our customers to have the very best experience when using WiFi.
“An access point in every apartment is the only way to achieve 100 per cent coverage, super fast, and absolutely reliable. No drop outs.”
As technology advances and device numbers multiply, guest expectations have also risen. Not only do they expect fast and reliable Wifi, they expect it to be free. Like flicking on a light, or running the shower, internet access is considered a basic essential.
But Chris understands there is a cost to meeting those expectations, and it’s not insignificant. In the case of the in-room solution, a technician needs to go into every unit and, even if existing cabling can be used, other components have to be supplied and installed.
The good news is, once you have that infrastructure, it adds value to your business. The system is cloud-based, scalable and ‘device agnostic.’ And Myport can show you several options for generating revenue to cover the capital cost.
In the end, the need to upgrade WiFi infrastructure will be market-driven. A cost–benefit analysis might consider, for example, if up to 80% of clientele won’t return because of poor Internet service, how much business are you potentially losing?
“Residential managers face a similar issue,” Chris said. “I find it very frustrating to see hallway WiFi networks still going into apartment buildings. It’s just a matter of time before end users look elsewhere when confronted with old WiFi designs.
“It’s like someone putting their WiFi access on the roof of their house so all the neighbours can use it. Not only are there issues with coverage and sharing the speed with your neighbour, but also security issues.”
And if your tenants and guests want to use the growing smorgasbord of streaming services (Netflix, Presto, Stan, etc.), the only solution is in-room.
“There are other benefits too,” Chris pointed out. “Increasingly, apartment owners and managers want the flexibility to interchange between long-term and short-term letting. The beauty of Myport’s in-room system is that you can switch between hotel and residential environments easily.”
Myport’s WiFi solutions allow operators to tailor the way the network is used and charged. Clients are assisted to manage, monetise and customise their system for optimum business benefit – aspects that will be covered in your next issue of Informer.