Bandwidth. There never seems to be enough. Hotels across the world are struggling on deciding exactly how much bandwidth enough. From small roadside motels to large hotels that hold multiple conferences, ensuring your hotel has fast internet is crucial in keeping your hotel at the top of the list of places to stay.
Why Hotels Need More Bandwidth
These days, guests are traveling with multiple devices that utilize internet bandwidth. Think cell phones, iPads, laptops, and more. Each of those devices can very well be connected to the Hotel Wi-Fi at once. Multiply that by a few hundred guests, you can quickly start to understand why hotel chains are constantly searching for the best hotel internet service provider.
Hotels with increased bandwidth and high speed WiFi can expect a higher guest satisfaction rate. In fact, many guests point to poor WiFi being the reason they did not give a hotel a 5-Star rating after their stay. According to the 2015 TripAdvisor TripBarometer, 74% of travelers rated WiFi as their most important amenity when booking a hotel.
While there’s no set equation to determine the amount of high speed internet bandwidth a hotel needs, the simple formula to follow is this:
More Bandwidth = Higher Internet Speed = Happier Guests = Better Reviews
Additional Benefits to Hotel High Speed Internet
It is important to remember that your WiFi service is only as good as the hotel internet service provider that supports it. Hotel owners and general managers should pay as much attention to the speed, availability, and reliability of their guests’ internet experience as much as they do with other key hotel operations.
In addition to guest satisfaction and 5-Star reviews mentioned above, hotel managers and executives should focus on the importance of their internet connection. Hotels, like other businesses, rely on their ISP (internet service provider) for multiple services; telephone (VOIP), Point of Sale (POS), security systems, and other business critical functions. Having an internet connection that is dedicated, fast, scalable, reliable, and secure is imperative.
What Drives Bandwidth Consumption?
Before diving into what drives bandwidth, it is important to understand what exactly is bandwidth. Bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer across a given path. Bandwidth can be characterized as network bandwidth, data bandwidth, or digital bandwidth.
Generally speaking, bandwidth is driven by four factors. The number of guest devices, the applications being run on those devices, IoT/Smart Hotel Room, and back-of-house operations for the hotel. Let’s examine each of those more closely.
Number of Guest Devices
It is pretty simple math. The higher number of guest devices connected to a hotel network, the higher amount of bandwidth the hotel will need. The vast majority of guests will have at least 2 network capable devices; a cell phone and either a laptop or tablet device. Each device is used for different purposes and therefore require a certain amount of bandwidth. If your hotel commonly hosts conferences or conventions, you’re going to need a lot of bandwidth to accommodate all your guests.
Applications Used on Devices
Not all applications are created equal. For example, your Facebook app on your phone requires significantly less bandwidth than does your Netflix app on your iPad. In fact, it is estimated that each room in a hotel should have at least 1 or 2 megabits of bandwidth per room for a guest to have a quality streaming experience. However, as higher quality video streaming becomes more common, those number may move to 3 or 4 megabits of bandwidth per room.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Hotel Room
Technology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It has made convenience commonplace, particularly in hotel rooms. Now one remote, well touch pad really, can control all facets of your hotel room; from the television, to room temperature, to the lights, to ordering room service. However, this convenience comes with a necessary access to the hotel’s Direct Internet Access network. Meaning that, yes, even your rooms within your hotel are going to require some level of bandwidth.
Back of House Operations
A smooth operation hotel’s back of house operations should run like a well-oiled machine. Well the oil to that machine is network connectivity. And being connected to that network, yup, you guessed it, requires bandwidth. Back of house operations can be anything related to hotel operations from front desk registration and check-in, to General Managers balancing budget in their office, to the cleaning staff utilizing touch pads for which rooms need cleaning.
Overall, nearly every aspect of the “hotel experience” requires bandwidth. Determining how much bandwidth is entirely up to you, your research, and what you think will provide the optimum experience for your guests and employees.