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Hotel Wi-Fi Case Study: Quality Hotel Downtown Vancouver

We recently shot a case study with Jonas Melin, General Manager of the Quality Hotel Downtown Vancouver. Take a look:

Jonas’ property faced a number of issues in delivering wireless Internet to guests: the building was constructed of concrete, brick, steel and wood, it was spread across seven stories, and there was no way to run new Ethernet cable to all rooms.

After a three-hour installation, the Quality Hotel Downtown Vancouver was able to deliver strong, fast wi-fi to guests and provide 24/7 guest support to help with any technical issues in getting online. Because of price, quality, service and customer feedback, Jonas has installed a Liveport system in four hotels now.

We’d like to thank Jonas for sitting down to share his experience with us. If you’re ever looking for a great hotel in Vancouver, drop by the Quality Inn Downtown Vancouver!

Is your guest WiFi worth bragging about?

We’ve blogged a lot about how wireless Internet is now the best amenity hotels can offer their guests. We know that a strong guest network can lead to higher guest satisfaction and more bookings for hotels.

We also know that not all hotel WiFi is created equal. Some hotels only offer access in the lobby, others claim speed and connectivity that was barely able to meet guest demands five years ago–let alone today. With guests expecting more than ever, a solid, professionally-managed guest wireless network is a great competitive advantage for hotels and hospitality properties.

So how do you separate yourself from the other hotels in your area? If you’re a Liveport customer, do your potential guests know how good your wireless Internet really is? If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas we’ve seen our clients implement:

  1. Post it on your website.
    Tell past and future guests that you offer fast, free (in most cases) wireless Internet in every room with 24/7 live guest support. You could even throw a link back to for the extra-curious.
  2. Monitor travel review sites.
    Have customers complained about a poor guest wireless Internet experience at your property in the past? Most travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor, offer the opportunity to comment. Let your past (and future) guests know that you’ve upgraded your system and now have great access in every room. Most importantly: invite them back to try you again.
  3. Send an email promotion.
    This is one of our favorites. A large hotel in Calgary was so happy with their new Liveport wireless network that they sent a promotion out to their entire email list. They talked about Liveport’s benefits and bragged–just a little–about the speeds and connectivity. They invited past guests to try them again, and offered a $10 restaurant gift card for anyone who used the promo code “Liveport” during booking.

So, how are you telling your guests about your wireless Internet? We know how important it is to them, so start making sure they know you care–and deliver the speeds, connectivity and support they’re asking for.

Welcoming Liveport’s newest clients

We’d like to send a great big welcome to the hotels who have recently had Liveport’s fully-managed hotel wi-fi system installed in their hotels.

The list includes:

Aurora Park Inn & Suites in Dawson Creek, BC
Comfort Inn & Suites in Fortuna, California
Comfort Inn East in Scarborough, Ontario
Comfort Suites Downtown
in Windsor, Ontario
Compass Point Inn
in Surrey, BC
Econolodge in Bellingham, Washington
Howard Johnson Express Inn in Arcata, California
Howard Johnson in Edson, AB
Misty Mountain Inn & Suites in Grand Cache, Alberta
North Vancouver Hotel in North Vancouver, BC
Quality Inn Northern Grand in Fort St. John, BC
Sleep Inn in Bracebridge, Ontario
Western Budget Motel in Leduc, Alberta

Welcome! We’re so glad to have you on board.

If you’re interested in installing or upgrading your hotel’s wireless Internet, why not check us out?

Hotel Internet costs set to rise: Are you ready?

A story came out this week that many Internet Service Providers in Canada (Shaw and Primus being the latest) are set to raise rates for heavy bandwidth usage. While the stories are primarily focused on home users, it also has implications for business users like yourself. We’ve written about the challenge hotels have meeting bandwidth needs before, and ISPs are facing the same challenges. The reality is that bandwidth costs money. With more and more mobile devices and online movies, demands–and costs–are increasing rapidly. Here’s what you need to do to minimize cost increases and keep your customers happy during the shift:

  1. Talk to your ISP. Find out what type of package you have and if your rates will be going up. There are often charges for extra bandwidth usage–find out where those kick in. Let us know so that we can help.
  2. Ensure your network is managed. If you’re a Liveport customer, this is already covered. A non-managed network allows all users unlimited
    bandwidth and downloading, while a managed network puts in place some restrictions to share bandwidth fairly.
  3. Remind your guests when checking in that Torrent downloads are not allowed and that they could be blocked from the network. If they are blocked, they can call out 24/7 support number to get back online.

As always, we’re here to help if you have any questions.

– The Liveport Team

The battle for bandwidth: part II

The following was published in Liveport Connection, our monthly email newsletter. To subscribe, click here.

What is Liveport doing to help you manage guest demands for bandwidth?

Last month, we wrote about changing guest demands for wireless, and how improving your Internet package with your ISP can help. This month, we want to share a bit about why and how we’re managing your guests’ bandwidth on your Liveport hotel wireless network.

Why does Liveport manage bandwidth?
Remember the garden hose analogy? With a limited amount of bandwidth (the amount of available Internet speed at a given time) coming in to your building, Liveport needs to make sure that that bandwidth is being shared equally. This allows each user to have reliable access and ensures that no one user can hog all of the bandwidth.

Without bandwidth management, just a few people downloading illegal movies or TV shows on your network could shut everyone else out. That’s why wireless bandwidth management is considered an industry-wide best practice.

How does Liveport manage bandwidth?
Liveport does two key things to make sure everyone has fair access:

  1. We set upload and download speed limits for each individual guest. For most properties, this means 500kbps download and 200kbps upload. It’s likely slower than guests’ home connections, but more than fast enough to browse the web, send and receive emails (including those with large attachments) and watch YouTube clips. This limit can be increased as your available bandwidth increases.
  2. We can block users who are downloading large files (known as “torrents”). Even with restrictions in place, multiple users downloading illegal files for hours on end can cause trouble for your network. We are able to identify who is downloading these files and, when necessary, turn off their wireless connection. Blocked guests can call our support number any time, day or night, to get back online—with a gentle reminder to share the network with others.

Our bandwidth blind spot
While we can see what’s happening and actively manage your wireless side, we have no idea who is downloading what on your wired network. If you’re running both from the same connection, a few heavy wired downloaders will affect both sides of the network. If it’s a problem at your property (the biggest symptom is periods of slow speeds even though the wireless network looks good), we have a couple of suggestions.

First, you could simply turn your wired network off—provided it’s not required for business or government travelers. Second, you could run each network off separate modems (requiring a second connection from your ISP). Lastly, you could use Liveport’s wired network management service, which lets us see what’s happening on your wired side, manage wired bandwidth and take care of your wired guest Internet support. It costs an additional $1 per room, per month.

As always, we’re happy to walk you through the process if you need to make a change.

Liveport featured in Canadian Lodging News

When the Canadian Lodging News ran a special feature this month on in-room technology, they featured Liveport for the “wireless connectivity” section. Take a look:

Wireless connectivity

Wireless Internet is at the top of the list of guest preferences these days.

In J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, 77 per cent of guests indicate the in-room Internet connection they use is Wi-Fi, compared with just 55 per cent in 2007.

Some of the traditional problems with wireless Internet are spotty availability, particularly in older hotels with concrete walls and floors, guests “hogging” the bandwidth by downloading movies and other large files, and installation, which can be complicated, time consuming and disruptive to guests.

Kelowna, BC-based Liveport has a novel approach to all three of these problems.  It uses many tiny encased nodes to blanket the hotel, rather than a few high-powered devices.

“This way, you get perfect signals in every room,” says Liveport’s Ryan Detwiller. And if one node goes down, the others automatically reconfigure so that guests notice no difference in coverage.”

These nodes can be placed in unobtrusive places throughout the guest room, for example behind the television or the fridge. They don’t have to be put in the roof, there’s no drilling and no wires, and thus no interruptions to guests.

“We can install a whole property in a few hours,” Detwiller says.

They also have Dashboard, their live web-based software, which allows hoteliers to monitor their networks, observe traffic, manage bandwidth hogs and set up pay for use.

In addition, the price is easy to calculate at $2 per room per month.

For the full article at Canadian Lodging News, click here.

Liveport Booth

The BC Hospitality Expo

We (Danny and Ryan) just got back from two great days at the BC Hospitality Expo in Vancouver, B.C. It was great to connect with many of our current hotels and meet many more. It was also great to see what other vendors had on display–from new furniture, electronics, POS systems and plenty of great BC-brewed beer.

Here’s a photo of the Liveport booth. We’d love to hear what you think!

Liveport Booth

The battle for guest room bandwidth

Guests are demanding more from your wireless network. Are you keeping up?

When the primary guest demand of wireless on the road was checking emails and browsing the web, bandwidth (the amount of Internet available to your property at a particular time) wasn’t much of an issue. But with the explosion of gaming, online video, Skype chats and now Netflix, guests are demanding more of what they get at home on the road. Increasingly, guests find themselves pushing up against the limits of what hotels are offering.

Think of bandwidth like your water supply. Properties are set up to provide water for showers, sinks and toilets to all guests, plus everything that happens behind the scenes. Now imagine trying to supply all of that using a garden hose. If one user showered, another couldn’t run the faucet. It wouldn’t work too well, would it?

Yet that’s what many hospitality properties are doing when it comes to their Internet package. For example, just two people watching YouTube clips at the same time uses up the entire bandwidth of a T1 line. Everyone else on the network is out of luck (and probably quite unhappy).

The good news is that for most properties, there is an easy fix. The solution, much like the water example, is to simply get a bigger pipe connected to the building. Liveport’s systems can support the highest amounts of bandwidth available, so providing more bandwidth to guests is usually as easy as upgrading your Internet package with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you already have the fastest package, consider adding a second or third line—Liveport can support that too.

Whatever your situation, we can work with you to meet guest demands. If you want to be known for having the fastest wireless on the strip, we’ll help you get there.

Most important amenity by sector

Why wireless Internet is the #1 hotel amenity you can offer

Your guests expect a lot. But what’s at the top of their list? It’s not free parking or pillow-top mattresses. It’s not even free breakfast. It’s wireless Internet–and it better be good.

“Whether it is to connect a mobile device or iPad to Wi-Fi or to connect a laptop to access work files or to download a television show or a movie, guests indicate their most important hotel amenity is wireless Internet access,” said an article at Hotels News Now.

The article was based on the findings of a study of more than 53,000 hotel guests released this fall by J.D. Power and Associates. Across the industry, wireless Internet access was rated as the #1 most important amenity. Take a look:

Most important amenity by sector

But, the study notes, it’s not enough to simply install an off-the-shelf or home-made system. Guests are increasingly unhappy with weak connections and poor speeds.

“Where we have seen brands get into trouble in the study, however, is where they are not providing a quality Internet connection and one which is widely available throughout the property,” noted the article.

The study also noted that offering free wireless Internet has a positive effect on guest satisfaction. But keeping up with guest demands can be costly. Most big-brand hotels are spending $15 to $20 thousand for an average 100-room hotel to upgrade their properties.

But there’s an easier, more affordable system that’s just as effective–if not more.

For example, Liveport provides an all-inclusive service that provides equipment, installation and 24/7 support for $2 per room, per month. For that rate, you also get upgrades to new technology as it becomes available, and you’re protected against equipment loss, damage and theft.

“We’re looking to partner with hotels and be their long-term wireless provider,” said Ryan Detwiller of Liveport. “But we do that by continuing to provide great service year after year, and pushing technology to stay one step ahead of guest demands. There are no long-term contracts and no hidden fees–ever.”

You can read the full article on the J.D. Power and Associates findings at Hotel News Now by clicking here.

News Release: Liveport launches wired network management service

Liveport Corporation, a provider of high-speed wireless Internet networks for the hospitality industry, announced today that they have launched a new wired network management service to complement their wireless offerings.

The service was launched in response to property managers with Liveport’s wireless service and a non-managed wired network. Users who wished to download illegal movies and TV shows could simply plug in to a property’s wired network to bypass Liveport’s wireless bandwidth management system. Just a few users downloading these files can dramatically slow Internet speeds for wired users. Wireless users would also be affected if both networks share the same Internet connection.

Liveport’s new wired network management service combines hardware and software to set the same bandwidth limits on both wired and wireless users and provide the same set of network management and optimization tools to both sides of the network.

The service includes equipment, installation, upgrades and 24/7 guest support for wired users for just $1 per room, per month more.

For more information:
Liveport: 1-800-861-1888

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