Posts tagged wifi
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.
Hotel WiFi and the cost of technology
Have you noticed how fast the cost of technology is dropping? If you’ve peeked in a flyer from a local big-box retailer lately, you’ve probably shared my experience: that new piece of gadgetry you purchased 6 months ago is now hundreds of dollars cheaper. Or a new version came out with way more features for the same price.
Consumer technology keeps getting better and better while prices go lower and lower. But that trend isn’t restricted to consumer technology alone. In fact, with hotel wireless Internet, the trend has been moving much faster.
Four or five years ago, a typical hotel wireless Internet provider would place a few expensive access points at strategic points in the building, hoping to cover the entire property (based on our experience upgrading systems, most failed). They installed expensive servers, switches and routers on site and hired high-cost IT workers to keep the whole thing running.
So what’s changed in four years? Unfortunately, most WiFi companies haven’t changed a whole lot. They still install a few access points (though most are notably better than their predecessors) and expensive servers (that cost between $3,000 and $10,000 each) on site. Whenever something breaks or becomes outdated, it gets replaced–at the hotel’s expense. It’s the model they know, and it usually works…if you spend enough money.
When Liveport started in 2007, we wanted to take a different approach. We began by asking ourselves how we could make wireless easier and less expensive for hotels. We started with those $3,000-$10,000 on-site servers–and got rid of them. We started managing hotels’ wireless networks from the cloud. There is nothing to break, nothing to replace and nothing to tie us to a specific location. We can manage your wireless just as easy from Liveport’s central office, your hotel or Timbuktu–as long as we have an Internet or cell phone connection. We found that removing servers not only saved hotels money, it made network management much more powerful and efficient. We could set bandwidth limits, upgrade firmware, set up payment and tiered access systems, change network settings, block abusive downloaders and so much more, easily, at any time, from anywhere.
We then looked at the access points. Most companies were installing one high-powered access point on every floor or two. The result? The signal wasn’t getting all the way to the ends of the hallways or in all the nooks and crannies of the hotel property. Rather than relying on a few devices–each of which causes tremendous problems if it ever shuts down–we found a technology that allowed us to install lower-power access points for every 4-6 rooms, usually without running any new cables. And the technology, called “mesh,” was self-healing, meaning that if one access point was shut down, unplugged or stolen, guests wouldn’t usually notice the difference–they would automatically be redirected to another nearby access point. As the world shifted to mobile devices with weaker antennas like iPhones and iPads, we found our technology, with access points always within 50 feet of a guest, excelled where others faltered. After all, a guest Internet connection is only as strong as the antenna on the device they are using.
Again we saw that Liveport’s hotel wireless technology was far more robust and reliable than the systems worth thousands more.
The savings and technology we chose allowed us to price our product differently. We didn’t require site surveys or a constant stream of technicians to visit each hotel, so we decided on something pretty revolutionary: the $2.99 per room, per month (billed annually) model. For that price, we included equipment, installation, network monitoring and management, 24/7 guest technical support, and equipment replacement. As technology changed, we threw free equipment upgrades in as well. Absolutely everything hotels were paying thousands for before was simplified into an easy, powerful, all-inclusive service. We expanded into wired network monitoring, management and support in 2010, including the service for free. And we promised our hotel clients that we’d never charge them for anything else, ever. To make sure we could be kept to our word, we didn’t lock in clients to multi-year contracts. In fact, we allowed clients to leave at any time–we’d even refund them for any months they’d already paid for but didn’t use.
The results have been amazing. Today, Liveport is honoured to serve more than 30,000 hotel rooms in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Name any brand in North America and we’re probably there. But we’re not done yet. We know that strong WiFi is a competitive advantage in today’s hospitality landscape, so we keep striving to keep our clients at the front of the pack. We’ll keep pushing, innovating and upgrading to provide our clients with industry-leading wireless technology in their hotels, and friendly, knowledgeable, North American-based technical support for their guests.
Technology is changing fast, but you can count on Liveport to keep your hotel wifi up to date and your guests coming back.
Hotels feeling effects of iPad on guest WiFi networks
The New York Times has an interesting piece on how iPads are changing the economics and speed of hotel WiFi.
Here’s one excerpt: “Largely because of the broad use of iPads and other mobile tablets, which are heavy users of video streaming, the guest room Wi-Fi networks that most hotels thought they had brought up to standard just a few years ago are now often groaning under user demands. ”
The piece points out that the demand for streaming video often surpasses the hotel’s ability to provide it for free. The writer feels there will be a move to a tiered system, where basic access for checking email and browsing the web will be free, but users will have to pay for higher bandwidth required to watch videos.
It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of hotels in the United States now offered at least some kind of Wi-Fi service with fees for higher use.
How is your network coping? Have you made upgrades in the last few years, only to find yourself falling short of guest demands again? Liveport’s all-inclusive pricing model might be the solution. Liveport includes equipment refreshes for life, eliminating the need to pay for expensive and frequent upgrades. We also have the ability to provide the tiered networks discussed in the article, and our mesh-node technology is perfect for mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. Ask us how we can help or visit http://www.liveport.com.
iPad 2 users facing intermittent WiFi connection issues
If your guests are having trouble connecting to your hotel’s WiFi network with Apple’s iPad 2, they aren’t alone. Engadget is reporting that many iPad 2 users are having intermittent wireless connection issues:
Some things, they never change. Boys will be boys, free never really is, and iPads will have WiFi issues. If you’ll recall, the original Apple slate also had such troubling issues with maintaining a wireless connection that the folks in Cupertino actually made a promise to fix things in time. Eventually, that patch was indeed rolled out, but then we heard that iOS 4.2 was being pushed a bit due to — you guessed it — more WiFi issues. Now that the iPad 2 has made its way out into the adoring public’s hands, we’re starting to see a growing cadre of customers raising similar gripes.
Liveport’s support team has seen a higher than expected volume of calls from iPad 2 users–certainly more than the original iPad and other iOS devices–but the problem (thankfully) still seems limited to certain devices.
If you’re a Liveport client, we’ll walk your guests through our standard troubleshooting methods for iPads, but unfortunately, the issue won’t be fully resolved until Apple issues a software update.
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:
- 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 Liveport.com for the extra-curious.
- 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.
- 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.