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5 Must-Haves for Your Hotel Communications

October 24th, 2019 by

Technology is constantly driving evolution within the hospitality industry. Hotel operations are drastically different than what they were just five years ago. In order to remain competitive, hoteliers need to understand how technology is changing the space and how to incorporate these new tools into their hotel communication strategy.

Hotel Communication Must-Haves

Meeting new demands

Communication is critical to the guest experience. While the use of email and social media has increased in recent years, hoteliers know all too well that certain tasks are better performed in person or over the phone. Customers, on the other hand, are increasingly interacting with hotels across multiple touch points, including the web, mobile apps and call centers, where they expect the same level of service across every channel used. Maintaining consistency across all channels must be a priority.

Updating a communications infrastructure to meet these new demands can seem like a daunting proposition, especially if a property has multiple locations. Some hoteliers prefer a fully-managed, hosted solution that is dependable and is a good value, while others want the ability to control features and make network changes on a dime.

Whether you’ve already decided to implement a new communications solution, or you are contemplating it as a possibility, there are five key components to look for and consider.

  1. A purpose-built hospitality solution. Integration with systems and business applications are a must. If they are not incorporated into a system, complexity and costs can quickly rise. Solutions that include standard integrations or enable API connectivity to your PMS platform, existing hospitality management applications and mobile devices will help to deliver a personalized guest experience and ensure greater operational efficiency.
  2. Ease of management and use. New technology needs to work for you and be intuitive for successful end-user adoption. The hotel communication solution you choose should simplify property communications and include worry-free system maintenance to relieve on-property IT resources.
  3. CAPEX and OPEX flexibility. It’s a known fact that many hotel owners and management companies prefer to capitalize their purchases and expenses. “One-timing” the purchase also allows the property to increase or conserve that precious NOI (Net Operating Income), a key factor in increasing the value of the property asset.
  4. Scalability of a UCaaS solution. If you’re not ready to switch to a full-featured unified communications platform, make sure this option is a possibility for future growth and optimization. There’s no need to rip and replace legacy PBX systems, and when purchased as a subscription-based service, it’s easier to roll out across multiple locations.
  5. Reservation system integration. The guest experience doesn’t begin at arrival, it begins when the guest first contacts a property.  An omni-channel Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution provides an end-to-end suite of tools that enables hoteliers to personalize and deliver a differentiated guest experience.

Meeting your guests’ digital demands can put new stresses on your IT organization. If you’re unsure of which path to take, Windstream Enterprise has the expertise and solutions to meet your current and future needs—just reach out, we’d be happy to help.  

Secure WiFi: the “Home Away from Home” Essential

August 27th, 2019 by

Modern travelers are hyper-connected (estimates show that each guest brings an average of three devices with them) making remote access essential. In fact, recent research has shown that the only thing that guests prefer over a complimentary breakfast or free parking is first-rate WiFi.1 Business travelers need to be able to check their emails and take online conference calls. Leisure travelers are eager to use the internet to connect with friends and family, discover local attractions, and enjoy streaming music and shows after a long day of travel.

Hotel WiFi

The comforts of home

Unlike typical hotels, units within a vacation ownership property are individually owned and with that investment comes some very high WiFi performance expectations. These types of properties have unique occupancy rates with 80% owners vs. 20% renters, so ‘dwell time’ is higher than in a typical hotel or resort. Vacation ownership guests tend to spend more time in their unit during the daytime and on weekends, versus guests in a hotel room who are often working outside of the guestroom during the day and utilizing hotel WiFi in the evening. In both cases, WiFi is an essential part of the overall guest experience–and can make or break a property’s reputation.

Case study: the ‘Power of One’ provider

A popular global vacation ownership group was experiencing issues with their guest WiFi resulting in tarnished satisfaction scores. According to the property’s Guest Experience Technology Program Manager, internet connectivity which affected WiFi service was a ‘top three’ guest complaint–and became the manager’s top priority to resolved.

While other providers touted solutions to the problem, the Windstream Hospitality Group quickly rose to the top of the list as the new technology partner during the selection process. In fact, Windstream Enterprise (WE) was already on-property to deploy WiFi and ISP solutions when other vendors were still starting site surveys and crafting responses to the RFQ.

Partnership in action

According to the property’s program manager, not only did WE demonstrate an understanding of the issues facing the hospitality industry, the early design meeting with the customer yielded a seamless, initial deployment, along with on-going support.  While keeping current with technology changes is critical, the program manager notes the importance of having a trusted partner.

Having a one-stop-shop to go to for data circuits, WiFi and ongoing support is a huge benefit because I’m going to one team, and I’m talking to one group of people to accomplish all the goals that I need to for my company’s WiFi and connectivity.”

Enhancing the digital guest journey

Today, WiFi is a vital solution that continues to aid the customer’s digital transformation. Benefits include:

  • Secure and stable WiFi with extended reach for guests and resort associates
  • Robust, comprehensive services to exceed guests’ bandwidth requirements
  • SD-WAN for improved application performance and resiliency
  • PAN (Personal Area Networking) support that enables connectivity wherever the guest is on the property

 Always one step ahead

The customer commends Windstream Enterprise for “always being a step ahead of the hospitality competition” and helping them “be well prepared.” Beyond evolving their network, the benefits to our customer have become evident with:

  • Significantly improved customer satisfaction scores: WiFi decreases as an issue cited on guest surveys from 15% to 0.25%
  • Network visibility and reporting to identify and prevent potential outages/impairments
  • Improved staff productivity with WiFi that extends throughout the property (PAN)
  • Enables enhanced security features (e.g., panic buttons) and further network enhancements

“Once Windstream WiFi was live at our sites, this complaint fell outside of our top 10 and was no longer a significant guest dissatisfier.”

Take the journey with WE

Whether you’re seeking a new path to digital transformation or simply want to run faster down a path you’ve already chosen, Windstream Enterprise has the expertise and solutions to meet your current and future needs.

Want to know more? Read the full case study here for more details on this customer’s success.

1 https://www.hotelwifi.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HIS_WiFiSurvey_FullReport_web.pdf

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