Hospitality Wi-Fi: How Operators can Rewrite the Rules of the Game

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Operators are trying out different strategies to increase their market penetration in the Hospitality Wi-Fi segment. Research suggests that over 95% hotel visitors worldwide are known to check for internet connectivity prior to booking their rooms; poor quality Wi-Fi is seen as a deal-breaker as stories keep surfacing about guests being forced to access internet in the lobby or a coffee shop rather than the comfort of their rooms. It doesn’t have to be that way ¾ using the right solution, operators can pitch several value-added services for hotels to solve their frequent pain points such as limited reach access points, expensive installation, unorganized Wi-Fi and the recurring costs of dedicated IT teams. For this, operators must aim to be an experience provider rather than a mere service provider acting on a vanilla internet offering. Examples of operator value additions could be tailor-made speed plans that address data consumption patterns of different guests, additional bandwidth-on-demand for multiple users in the same room or effective usage tracking to address revenue leakage. It’ll also be a huge incentive for operators if they can offer Mobile Data Offload to their existing subscribers within the hotel Wi-Fi range. Moreover, since the solution is entirely managed by the operator, regulatory and legal norms can be easily upheld. However, currently operators lack the mechanism to manage Wi-Fi across multiple hotel chains straight out of a central console. This can be solved by going for a vendor who will offer a centralized, Cloud-based platform enabling operators to provide complete Wi-Fi access infrastructure and internet connectivity on a Managed Services model. Hotels, on the other hand, face technical challenges due to the fact that their PMS systems have to be separately integrated each time with new Wi-Fi network equipment in order to exchange charging information. Operators can here make a valuable proposition by offering a complete, bundled solution which achieves single, one-time integration with available PMS solutions in the market.  This all-inclusive platform would allow operators to capture a greater slice of hotel Wi-Fi market than they presently do. Perhaps, the biggest plus point for Operators going with Wi-Fi business model for hospitality sector is the fact that the same Wi-Fi SMP platform  can be easily extended to other business models; including newly emerging market segments such as large enterprises, residential, location-aware services, and so on.

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