I know it seems like we are beating a dead horse but Internet has taken such a leap forward in guest satisfaction that it’s almost something we should be discussing on a daily basis at the hotel level. Franchises are even stepping out and driving change. Hilton has forced hotels to spend tens of thousands of dollars with AT&T for new networks while both it and Marriott have released new standards pushing hotels to upgrade the bandwidth. The only problem, even the new standards are outdated by the time they are required to be in place.
Here is what we know. Guest connectivity will triple in 2012. As more and more residential communication moves to the cloud (think Netfilx, Skype, etc) guests need more bandwidth. Consider also that more guests are getting online than ever before and using more than one device to get on line. For example a guest may check in and use the laptop for work, the tablet for play, and WiFi on the phone for certain apps or communication with co-workers or friends and family. ll the guest wants to know is that it works. Behind the scenes the network has to shoulder a significantly increased responsibility and the bandwidth leaving the hotel must be sufficient to the increasing demands.
There is a balance between over spending and under spending but most hotels have not budgeted for the initial jump to 10 and 20 meg internet pipes and will need to be ready for the next steps, 100 meg and higher. It seems surreal to consider just a few years ago a T1 was the benchmark and very soon we’ll be talking about 500 meg pipes at the hotel but that is the reality of our media driven society.
Given the spike in bandwidth consumption that will not end anytime soon, hotels need to consider strategies that allow for flexible increases and absolutely must consider redundancy. In all the new requirements for bandwidth, redundancy is lost in the discussion. Simply put, if your Internet doesn’t work, guests will check out. If you have only one single connection into the property it will go down at some point, that’s why no carrier guarantees 100 percent up time. Having a simple, cost effective solution for redundant bandwidth should be a priority for all hotels to insure the guests are always online.