The hospitality industry must deal with ever-evolving customers’ tastes every single day. Major advances owing to digital innovation has enabled the market entry of brand new segments which are also performing wonderfully. What were once fledgling private accommodation and ride-hailing brands in 2009 are already at par with the Goliaths of travel.
Quite obviously, technology has brought in an unprecedented revolution as guests now demand and judge the premises based on the level of personalized experiences they get. It is no mean feat, therefore, to satisfy the trifecta of expectations that the modern customer has. This includes hyper-personalized services, seamless user experience and availability of technology that helps bridge the gap.
In this hyper-digitalized era, Wi-Fi is the number 1 desired amenity that guests look for while selecting a hotel
80% of guests connect to WiFi and two-thirds within 7 mins of arrival.
Interestingly, however, while 88% of hotels offer free Wi-Fi, only 35% of their guests are satisfied with it. In other words, providing super-fast Wi-Fi is not enough. but the focus is now shifting towards making the guest journey of connecting with Wi-Fi as seamless as possible that too in a secure manner. For instance, Treebo Hotels which is a budget hotel chain in India and has properties in 134+ cities across India announced in January the launch of “InstaConnect WiFi”. This is a technology initiative that will enable guests to automatically connect to the Hotel’s network initially at over 50 properties and subsequently rolled out across its portfolio of 300 properties.
Need for such a solution:
To understand why the hospitality market needs the next generation of Wi-Fi solutions, we must understand what the current challenges in WiFi are. Here are some of the key factors:
- Poor guest W-Fi on-boarding
- Lack of strong security methods
- Changing pre-shared passwords
- Managing multiple SSIDs
- Inconsistent guest experience at different sites
- Short-range cyber attacks
The Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) solution aims to address the most basic question that comes to a weary traveler’s mind as he tries to figure out a way to get connected to the internet,
“Why can’t connecting to a Wi-Fi network be as easy as connecting to a cellular network?”
Based on Hotspot 2.0 standard, NGH can empower the hotels to not only enhance their guest experience but venture into next-generation service opportunities and subsequent monetization.
Key benefits of NGH in Hospitality:
Let us then delve deep into the subject and take a look at the myriad customer and business benefits that are an outcome of employing an NGH Solution in a travel and hospitality enterprise.
Seamless “Cellular-like” Experience:
Assuming the case of a multi-brand hotel chain that deploys NGH based Wi-Fi in its properties, then here’s how the experience changes. Guests who visit this hotel chain’s properties on a regular basis would be able to automatically connect to the authorized networks that they had connected to in their very first visit. Guests are saved from the agony of manually connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi each time they visit a hotel property, but they get connected to the authorized network automatically. When the guests register onto the network for the first time, a Wi-Fi profile gets installed onto the device which enables the seamless connection to the authorized networks in the future just like a “cellular” network. As the solution decouples the SSID for connecting to the network, guests can now seamlessly roam between properties of the same or even another brand of the same hotel chain.
And doesn’t that sound like a great customer experience!
Usually, when guests search for available Wi-Fi networks, they may erroneously connect to a rogue network which would make their devices and data vulnerable to cyber-attacks. However, if the hotel has a Hotspot2.0 based solution, then guests are automatically connected to the correct network. At the same time, NGH enforces enterprise-grade security (WPA 2/3 security protocol) for user authentication and eliminates the threats of rouge networks. Having an NGH solution also helps automatically update policies and credentials on the guests’ devices via subscription “remediation”.
Differentiated Quality of Service:
Having a loyal customer base who return again and again is a dream come true for any enterprise on the face of this earth. A deeply loyal customer base is built and nurtured over a period. NGH enables the hospitality enterprises to offer a differentiated quality of service such as increased bandwidth to their loyal customers that too without the need for multiple SSIDs for this purpose.
For instance, Hospitality chains may own many brands but a single consolidated rewards program. Without Passpoint, either the rewards program SSID needs to be added at every hotel or users’ phones must be configured with several SSIDs. Passpoint can function with a single profile that identifies the rewards program instead of a hotel SSID. When a user visits an associated property, their device will automatically identify the access point and connect. A differentiated QoS thus leads to greater customer satisfaction where they feel privileged to be associated with the enterprise.
Effortless WiFi Management:
Having a next-generation Hotspot-based Wi-Fi solution to cater to the connectivity needs of the customers enables companies to do away with IT personnel for new staff registration, visitor registration, access revocation or providing additional bandwidth for special events.
Monetization of Wi-Fi via Proximity Marketing:
One of the key features that differentiate NGH is the ability to push location-based advertisements to guests. It provides a new engagement channel for hotels and extends the reach of their advertising right up to smartphone users without having to install any application on their devices (APP-less marketing).
Based on the current location of any guest, hospitality enterprises can reach-out and send relevant offers right on their mobile phones. For instance, if a guest is moving around the lobby near one of their restaurants, the hotel can send a personalized message with a discount offer on food/drinks to encourage the guest to spend more in their premises.
In the hospitality industry (as with any other), hyper-personalization leads to enriched customer experience. Enterprises can make use of NGH to unlock additional revenue streams as it also empowers them with useful network insights. It helps hospitality set-ups understand their customers’ journey through their network usage patterns via a complimentary Wi-Fi Analytics component. Using the heatmaps feature, they can get the population density in various sections of the enterprise thereby optimizing staffing and maximizing ad-campaign efficiency.
80% of guests will NOT RETURN if they have a poor technology experience.
We are living in a digital era and digital transformation in hospitality enterprises is happening at a rapid pace. In order to differentiate themselves, hospitality companies are making use of technology to keep their guests engaged.
About HSC’s NGH Solution:
HSC’s NGH Solution is a cloud-hosted Hotspot2.0 based network solution that facilitates easy and secure Wi-Fi onboarding coupled with seamless Wi-Fi roaming to provide enriched customer experience, enhanced security, and network management and opens new value streams. What sets HSC’s NGH solution apart is that it comes with a bespoke analytics platform that enables the enterprises to understand their customers (via presence and web analytics) and do proximity marketing via hyper-personalized contextual advertisements.