In today’s hospitality industry, hotel guests have higher expectations for their travel experiences, whether they’re staying at a luxury boutique hotel or a sprawling resort. The key to thriving in this competitive landscape is to prioritize the guest experience, as it forms the cornerstone of your property’s success. When guests arrive, one of the first things they notice is the speed and quality of the WiFi and internet connectivity. Whether they are traveling for business or leisure, guests rely heavily on their connection to the digital world for communication, work, and even checking in to your property. If your technology infrastructure falls short, your guests will notice and share their dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is crucial to take a holistic approach to designing and building your property’s technology infrastructure, ensuring that all components work seamlessly together to deliver an exceptional guest experience.
The foundation of hospitality technology lies in internet connectivity. Network performance begins at the ground level, and even with a robust network architecture, it is essential to have fiber internet service to meet the growing bandwidth demands of your guests. Bandwidth requirements have been escalating due to the rapid adoption of cloud-based applications like Zoom, Teams, Skype, social media platforms, streaming services, messaging apps, and more. As more aspects of our lives and communication are uploaded to the cloud, this trend will only continue to grow. Moreover, with various technology systems on your property, such as in-room entertainment, modern point-of-sale (POS) systems, and other property technologies, the demand for internet bandwidth and performance will continue to rise. Upgrading your property’s internet circuit is the easiest and fastest way to ensure that guest technology works seamlessly and provides them with a positive experience. Additionally, if your current internet circuit is out of contract, upgrading to a larger circuit can often be more cost-effective than maintaining the existing one, saving valuable operational expenses for your property.
The main floor of hospitality technology encompasses the internal network, including WiFi connectivity. Building an efficient network is not something that can be changed on the fly. It requires a long-term investment of 5-7 years, designed to align with the latest hospitality standards and built using cutting-edge technologies. In the past, having wireless access points in the hallways was acceptable. However, with advancements in technology, access points have now moved into the rooms, discreetly integrated into small wall plates. This enables the wireless network to eliminate dead spots caused by steel, concrete, cabling, and pipes within the building’s structure. As a result, guests experience stronger and more stable wireless signals, enhancing their overall satisfaction. Additionally, the increased use of fiber cable as the network backbone allows for faster data transmission and extends the network’s reach over significantly larger distances. For large resorts, this means having more reliable and faster data connectivity across remote locations on the property. Future-proofing your property is crucial when investing in the internal network. If there are any uncertainties about cabling requirements, it is advisable to install additional cabling during the initial setup, as retrofitting can be more costly. Dedicated hospitality networking companies will design your network with a forward-thinking approach, ensuring stability throughout the equipment’s lifecycle and accommodating future upgrades when the time comes to refresh the technology. Given that changing the internal network is the most expensive and challenging part of the technology stack, careful thought and consideration are essential to get it right.
In the realm of hospitality technology, the applications that utilize your infrastructure can be considered the penthouse level—the pinnacle of your technological capabilities. While ensuring fast and reliable WiFi and internet service for every guest across your property is a critical measure of success, there is additional value to be unlocked by implementing applications that cater to your property’s specific needs, even if guests may not fully utilize them.
Integrating a Property Management System (PMS) with the Point of Sale (POS) system, telephone system, and potentially Guest Check-in Kiosks and keyless doors is a prime example. This seamless integration not only streamlines operations but also enhances guest convenience. Furthermore, ensuring guest safety and comfort through the integration of hybrid Security Cameras and building controls with HVAC and Lighting systems is paramount. For instance, enabling guests to place orders and make payments poolside through a modern Point of Sale system not only enhances their experience but also improves operational efficiency. These additional technologies have evolved over time and rely more than ever on the network and internet infrastructure.
While guests may not specifically care about the brand of POS or PMS system your property uses, it is crucial that these systems work seamlessly and provide value to your property in terms of efficiency and cost savings. By establishing a network infrastructure designed with a hospitality focus, you ensure that the best management products available will integrate seamlessly and enhance your operations.
Given the myriad options and technologies available, it is essential to make informed technology decisions that not only optimize operational efficiency but also enhance the overall guest experience. Technology evolves rapidly, making it impossible to keep up with every trend. However, by making optimal choices at the right time, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure your property remains competitive in the market.
Eric Casetta, Head of Operations
Eric Casetta is the Head of Operations at G2 Network Systems, a turnkey provider of hospitality technology. Eric has over 25 years experience working for large global companies in all aspects of technology, from driving customer experience to architecting enterprise infrastructure.