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Hotel Chain Wi-Fi Speeds
There is a strong correlation between the speed of Hotel Wi-Fi and the cost of room
Public Wi-Fi has transformed the way we stay connected, enabling a whole generation of start-ups to be created in cafes and other ad-hoc workspaces. Cafes are now seem almost as likely to publicly advertise their Wi-Fi network as they are the quality of their coffee. As we grow more demanding of Wi-Fi, expecting to be able to watch television or skype friends on publicly accessible connections, knowing that a certain location offers Wi-Fi is no longer enough. We know which cafes have Wi-Fi, we know which stores have Wi-Fi, and we know that the hotels we visit have Wi-Fi; what we don’t know is how fast that Wi-Fi will be.
Many of the most popular networks in our database were large hotel chains, which typically use the same Wi-Fi SSID for all of their outlets. Using price data gathered from a 2012 consumer report we were able to plot Wi-Fi speed against cheapest room price, with a startling correlation between the two. For large chain hotel Wi-Fi, price = performance. One of the most interesting results is the difference between the two Disney Wi-Fis, ‘Disney-Guest’ and ‘In-room Guest Wi-Fi (Disney)’ which we assigned the same price value. The Disney in-room guest Wi-Fi is our biggest outlier, the second slowest of our qualifying networks at 1.56Mbps despite the high room price. This shows that the Wi-Fi Disney offer to their park guests is greatly outperforming the in-room Wi-Fi enjoyed by the guests in their hotels. Our data suggests that the reason for the slow in-room Wi-Fi speed is because it is throttled to 3 Mbps. The Wi-Fi networks we have coloured yellow and red are those that fall below the required 5Mbps recommended for HD streaming.
For all the details go to http://opensignal.com/reports/2014/us-wifi/?_ga=1.72655187.1962024406.1406212540Wi-Fi
Liveport Completes Guest Wi-Fi Installation at The Wedgewood Hotel Vancouver
Liveport, a leading provider of hospitality wireless Internet services, announced today that they have completed a significant guest Wi-Fi system upgrade at the Relais & Chateaux Wedgewood Hotel and Spa in downtown Vancouver.
The Wedgewood prides itself on providing excellent guest experiences, but the previous Wi-Fi system was falling short of expectations. The new wireless Internet system will provide guests with reliable, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the entire property.
“We’ve seen free Wi-Fi become the most requested guest amenity across the industry in the last few years,” said Philip Meyer, Wedgewood Hotel’s General Manager. “Our new system allows us to meet and exceed guest expectations.”
Meyer points out that guest demands on their wireless systems have skyrocketed in the last year, primarily due to mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and streaming video applications such as Netflix. “With Liveport’s technology, network management and guest support, we can stay ahead of the technology curve,” he said.
Liveport provides guests with a secure tunnel to the Internet for each of their devices, and manages the network to prevent abuse.
“Without network management in place, it only takes one or two users to basically make the network unusable for all guests,” said Danny Bakker, Vice President of Liveport. “We prevent that from happening to ensure every guest has a great experience online.”
Liveport services more than 400 properties in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
“Guests today really just want to get online with minimal fuss,” said Bakker. “Simplicity is king. That’s what we’ve focused on, and hoteliers and guests are responding well.”
About Liveport Corp.: Liveport provides wireless Internet in more than 40,000 hotel rooms across North America, Australia and the UK. Liveport’s customer brands include Holiday Inn, Westin, Crowne Plaza, Best Western, Days Inn, Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Super 8 and Ramada, as well as many boutique hotels. Liveport provides an end-to-end solution for hotels, packaging all planning, access points, installation, upgrades and 24/7 toll-free guest technical support in one low monthly price.
About The Wedgewood Hotel: The Wedgewood boutique hotel in Downtown Vancouver offers 83 luxurious rooms with superb service. Located in fashionable Robson Square, The Wedgewood is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection of fine hotels and gourmet restaurants.
Hilton to offer guests tiered Wi-Fi pricing
It looks like some Hilton brands are going to begin providing faster Wi-Fi for guests—but there’s a cost to it.
USA Today is reporting:
The new Wi-Fi tier will become an option at Hilton’s limited service and extended stay brands: Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home 2 Suites.
Josh Weiss, vice president of brand and guest technology for Hilton, says the hotels will start offering the faster Wi-Fi in the next two months and roll it out to all hotels in those brands throughout this year.
The price will vary depending on the location, but guests will typically be charged $3.95. They will be able to use it on up to three devices.
Weiss says guests have indicated in surveys that they would be willing to pay for upgraded bandwidth.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for Hilton. Our experience has shown that guests are willing to pay for a premium service, and we love the $3.95 price point for three devices. It makes cost recovery very possible and likely won’t upset guests.
Liveport provides tiered guest Internet access in the Liveport Plus package.
Read the full USA Today story here.
Loews to offer free Wi-Fi to all guests at all hotels
Loews Hotels and Resorts is the latest chain to offer free Wi-Fi to all guests in their rooms, bucking the industry norm of charging for it, especially at higher-end properties.
The New York-based luxury hotel chain says every guest room at each of its 18 properties throughout North America will now be equipped with complimentary wireless Internet access.
“We look at it as a service our guests at Loews expect because they are getting it at home,” says Paul Whetsell, president and CEO of Loews. “I don’t think it’s sustainable to keep charging for it.”
Loews properties had been charging from $14.99 to $20 a day for Wi-Fi, depending on the market. Most of their lobbies had complimentary Wi-Fi. Now all of them will in addition to the guest room Internet.
Those guests who use an excessive amount of bandwidth will still incur a charge, however.
Several studies have shown that free Wi-Fi is one of the most coveted amenities among hotel guests. In a Hotels.com survey of 8,600 travelers worldwide, just 11% said they would be willing to pay for Wi-Fi when staying in a hotel.
The article goes on to point out that InterContinental Hotels Group will begin offering free Internet to its Rewards Club members. IHG, parent company of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, is the largest hotel chain based on room numbers and has 71 million Rewards Club members worldwide.
Managing Your Hotel’s Reputation Online
Managing your reputation online has never been more important. Plan on guests talking about their stay–whether good or bad–at your property on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Trip Advisor. Guests love to talk about room cleanliness, customer service and especially WiFi.
This infographic includes a lot of helpful tips on reputation management and dealing with crises. Click for a larger version.
Hotels that charge for WiFi
More and more hotels are dropping in-room WiFi fees. But there are still plenty out there with charges of $8, $15, even $25 per day. Some of these hotels may advertise “free WiFi,” but it is typically restricted to the lobby or common areas: you pay for in-room Internet access.
So who’s still charging? Here’s the list, as of Spring, 2013. And if you prefer to get your WiFi on the house, here’s a list of hotels with free WiFi.
– Mgallery Hotels
– Novotel Hotels, with the exception of a few in Europe
– Sofitel Hotels, except those in Europe, Africa and the Middle East
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
– Some Radisson Hotels
Boutique & Lifestyle Collection
– Affinia Hotels
– Morgans Hotels
– Viceroy Hotels and Resorts
– Tune Hotels
– Thompson Hotels
Hilton Hotels Group
– Conrad Hotels
– Embassy Suite
– DoubleTree Hotels
– Park Hyatt Hotels
– Some Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt Hotels
InterContinental Hotels Group
– Crowne Plaza Hotels (some Crowne Plazas we deal with provide free WiFi. Best to ask.)
– Some InterContinental Hotels
Marriot Hotels and Resorts
– Marriott Hotels
– Renaissance Hotels
– Ritz-Carlton Hotels, with the exception of most of the newer establishments
– JW Marriott Hotels, with the exception of the newer ones
– Luxury Collection Hotels
– Sheraton Hotels
– St. Regis Hotels
– W Hotels
– Westin Hotels
– A number of Le Meridien Hotels
Wyndham Hotel Group
– Dream Hotels
– Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
– Wyndham Grand Collection
– TRYP by Wyndham Hotels, with the exception of the newer establishments
– Dorchester Collection
– Jumeirah Hotels
– Kempinski Hotels
– Mandarin Oriental
– Taj Hotels
– Trump Hotels in New York
– Some Orient-Express Hotels
– Some Rocco Forte Hotels
Hotels with Free WiFi
More and more hotels are dropping the WiFi charges to get online while you’re out of town. So who’s still charging? Who’s gone free? Here’s a list of hotels with free Wi-Fi in each guest room. Note that some hotels may require guests to sign up for one of their loyalty programs, but a number of them offer unlimited access.
Here’s the list:
– Ibis Hotel
– Mercure Hotel
– Pullman Hotels
Best Western Hotels
– Best Western
– Best Western Plus
– Best Western Premier
– Ascend Collection
– Cambria Suites
– Clarion Hotels
– Comfort Suites
– Comfort Inns
– Quality Inns
– Sleep Inn Hotels
Carlson Rezidor Group
– Country Inn and Suites
– Hotel Missoni
– Park Plaza Hotels
– Radisson Blu Hotels
Boutique & Lifestyle Collection
– Ace Hotels
– ALT Hotels
– AKA Hotels
– Andre Balazs Hotels
– B Hotels and Resorts
– Citizen M Hotels
– COMO Hotels
– Desires Hotels
– The Doyle Collection
– Gansevoort Hotel Group
– Greystone Hotels
– Gem Hotels, Ascend Collection
– James Hotels
– Joie De Vivre Hotels
– Palace Resorts
– Soho House
– Standard Hotels
– Swire Hotels
– Hampton Inn Hotels
– Hilton Garden Inn
– Home2 Suites by Hilton Hotels
– Homewood Suites
– Hyatt Andaz Hotels
– Hyatt Place
– Hyatt House
– Summerfield Suites
– Candlewood Suites
– Holiday Inn Hotels, including Holiday Inn Resorts, Express and Club Vacations
– Hotel Indigo
– Staybridge Suites
Marriott Hotels and Resorts
– Edition Hotels
– Fairfield Inn Hotels
– Gaylord Hotels
– Residence Inn Hotels
– SpringHill Suites
– Towneplace Hotels
– Courtyard Hotels by Marriot
Starwood Hotels and Resorts
– Aloft Hotels
– Four Points by Sheraton
– Element Hotels
Wyndham Hotel Group
– Baymont Inn and Suites
– Days Inn
– Hawthorn Suites
– Howard Johnson
– Microtel Inns and Suites by Wyndham Hotels
– Night Hotels
– Ramada Hotels
– Super 8 Hotels
– Travelodge Hotels and Motels
– Wyndham Garden Hotels
– Aman Resorts
– Anatara Hotels
– Four Seasons Hotels
– Montage Hotels
– Langham Hotels
– Peninsula Hotels
– Regent Hotels
– Shangri-La Hotels
– Trump Hotels outside of New York
Thanks to Hotel Chatter’s 2013 WiFi report for the list.
The problem with cheap bandwidth for hotel WiFi
For years, one Internet Service Provider (ISP) that services the majority of our markets could provide outstanding bandwidth at very affordable rates. While others were offering 5 Mbps plans, this provider was offering 25, 50 and even 100 Mbps plans at similar prices.
It wasn’t “guaranteed” or “managed” bandwidth, but it more than covered a hotel’s WiFi needs. It was reliable and affordable, and typically provided the bandwidth advertised. We recommended this ISP to any client within their service area.
In our experience, Western Canada led North America with fast, dependable Internet service.
Houston, we have a problem…
But there’s a problem. A big problem. Many homes and businesses bought into this ISP’s cheap bandwidth solution, to the point that the ISP’s network became saturated with more iPads, iPhones, laptops and smart TV’s than it could handle.
As a result, those 100 Mbps connections that served our hotels in the past aren’t delivering anywhere near that level of bandwidth now. Sure, a hotel may get close to the advertised speeds from time to time, but peak demand outside the hotel often brings these networks to their knees. It doesn’t matter how good the network is within the building, the incoming ISP connection limits the potential of any network. And because the connection varies so much, it’s impossible to predict service levels.
One of Liveport’s employees has the same 100 Mbps connection we recommended to hotels in his home. He’s located near an ISP hub station, so he’s used to seeing speeds on his home network near the advertised speeds. However, earlier this week his home network (along with the rest of the community) experienced the same issue many of our clients do. Take a look.
This is a bit technical but I’ll try to give you a picture of what’s going on and how it can affect your network. Let’s break down the numbers:
- It took 237 MS to ping a server. We expect to see this number below 5. That means it is taking more than 400 times longer than normal to connect to any website.
- Download speeds were 99.5% slower than the advertised speed. The network essentially ceases to function at this low of bandwidth.
- Upload speeds weren’t as severe but still came in at 65% slower than advertised speeds.
- Despite paying for one of the top packages (the last chart), this employee was getting speeds consistent with the most basic tier.
The bottom line is that this type of hotel Internet connection, though more than adequate in the past, may no longer meet the needs of your hotel.
With more than 400 hotels in service, we can see what works and what doesn’t. And we consistently see that hotels with a managed connection (such as fibre-optic or point-to-point wireless from companies like Terago) significantly outperform hotels on shared broadband networks. Premium WiFi simply requires a premium Internet connection. The cost is significant–usually 4-6 times more money than a shared connection–but because WiFi is the most important guest amenity, hotels going this route don’t look back.
Before you point to your hotel WiFi provider or look to switch your ISP, give us a call. We’ll let you know where your problems may be and how to fix them cost-effectively.
Liveport gets animated
We’re always working hard to make hotel wifi as easy and straightforward as possible. So when we were looking to explain our service using video, we thought, “What’s more straightforward than a cartoon?” Let your inner child come out as you watch this two minute clip.
Liveport expands service to the UK
Liveport just keeps growing! In North America, we surged past 350 hotels in early 2012 and then expanded into Australia, which is already proving to be a great success. We have now taken the decision to open up in the UK as well, offering the same great product, service and price (in pounds, that is).
We’ll be officially launching in the UK on October 1st and we will be attending the Independent Hotel Exhibition in London on the 16th and 17th. If you can’t wait until October, we’d be more than pleased to hear from you if you’d like more info on how we can provide wireless in your hotel, fully supported 24/7/365 all for the great price of just £2.99 per room, per month. Visit Liveport UK here.
Thanks for helping to make Liveport a continued success!