It’s been more than 10 years now that we’ve had to deal with guest networks in our properties. Not quite an anniversary celebration but instead an unenvied evolution of meeting guest expectations. Ownership felt guest networks were a one-time investment that supplied a guest service. What we have found out, some the hard way, is that we must constantly budget for upgrades and changes to our network.
Guest satisfaction scores rely heavily on the network (and bandwidth) we supply to our guest. While in many cases it’s a free service, guest expectations still remain high. Our guest network now must withstand more users, more data usage, and more scrutiny. While we all scramble to meet the bandwidth demands, hotels tend to leave the existing network in place. We must address the problem both internally and externally.
Most networks were built for coverage not capacity. In this era, guests expect capacity. Just seeing the network signal doesn’t mean it meets our expectations. Think of it as a laptop. How many people carry around a five-year-old laptop? And, if you do, who uses it as a selling point of the business? Your guest network is no different. Old design, old equipment, and an old configuration means low guest scores.
We are in the 2010 budget season, which is the perfect time for operations to understand the importance of upgrading, refreshing, or replacing the existing network. We are still in the business of selling rooms and in 2011 we’ll need our networks to be our strength more than ever.