Time uninterrupted

By Speleos Dravillas

When traveling for work or pleasure, time is of the essence. It’s a precious resource, and the more time wasted waiting in lines, dealing with delays and struggling with spotty service, makes the experience almost mind numbing. This is especially the case for the “road warriors” who need to jump from city to city or country to country for conferences and client meetings—that time becomes exponential. But even for those occasional vacationers, we can’t just refund our time when experiences are sub-par.

Recent research found that for the survey respondents who had already traveled for leisure or business this year, 79% said they experienced at least one problem during their trip. This included long waits (29%), poor customer service (29%) and lost money due to canceled/disrupted plans (29%).

We know disruptions are sometimes unavoidable. How can hospitality companies alleviate these common interruptions for travelers, or at least make the experience better during the long waits?

Let’s think about habits. When you are waiting at the airport, you probably check your phone. When waiting in the doctor’s office—phone. Waiting in the drive-through at McDonalds—phone (however, I don’t condone texting and driving!). It’s almost second nature; we tend to automatically grab our phones, computers or mobile devices to check email, connect with friends or work on a project that’s due in a few hours. This is common across generations and geographies.

While we can’t replace time lost, we can certainly optimize it by making sure travelers have seamless connectivity for everything they do—from quick check-ins, connecting to work meetings, to casting shows and music in their rooms, ordering food and more. All of these things require strong connectivity (aka a good WiFi network).

Let’s look at five points to consider to make the best use of everyone’s time:

  1. Is it simple? Guests want ease of access when connecting to the network. Can they get on the first time though? Do they continue to have a quick connection whether they’re in their rooms, the lobby, conference areas, the pool or even the restaurants?
  2. Get immediate support? Time is of the essence when it comes to safety, especially for those isolated associates around the property. In instances of threats or falls, safety badges can make a major difference with a quick button to alert for help or relay automatic fall detection. And some buttons help monitor the WiFi as an added bonus.
  3. Support all connected devices? A foundation of WiFi 6 technology will effectively support the new connectivity demands from both guests and onsite tech, providing 4x more capacity, 75% less latency than WiFi 5, faster data transfer speeds and better performance. Additionally, bandwidth management technology, such as internet gateways, will prioritize WiFi performance to different areas or groups, and keep the guest connected where it’s needed most—for content streaming, video calls, etc.
  4. Eliminate downtime? With high-availability of the back-end internet infrastructure, the network becomes fully redundant with load balancing, instant failure recovery and increased capacity. If one area does go down, the guests won’t notice with instant recovery on the back end.
  5. Is it in stock? Making upgrades might be easier said than done considering continued supply chain issues, a lingering labor shortage and strained budgets. Some vendors are quoting lead times of over a year to get key equipment, such as wireless access points. The delays are predicted to continue, causing problems into 2023 and will, even then, be an ongoing battle to fully resolve all of the global supply chain issues. Find a vendor that has stock available to make changes now.

The world’s population has spent billions on hotels, cruises, vacation rentals and package holidays every year, and worldwide travel and tourism revenues are forecasted to reach $716.8 billion this year, according to Statistica. Travel has returned and is on par with 2019 levels and travelers are expecting their WiFi quality to be on par with 2023 standards as multimedia streaming has increased over the past three years.

People are putting their money and time toward travel, so let’s ensure that it’s time and money well spent by investing in Wi-Fi technology for guests and associates. Staying connected will create better experiences and help make people feel at home wherever they travel.

Speleos Dravillas is chief revenue officer and responsible for Nomadix’s go-to-market strategy and revenue growth through the execution of technology integration partnerships, strong channel and customer relationships, and industry alliances.

This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.