September 30 2015

Hotel Internet – How Fast is Too Fast?

Earlier this year, the FCC recently decreed internet to be a utility, on par with water and electricity. This was just shortly after Marriott had attempted to block users from sharing a 4G connection over wifi. Guests continue to demand more and more bandwidth, traveling with multiple devices, so Hospitality Upgrade still recommends the age old adage, ‘as much as you can afford.’ In a recent NYT article, High Speed internet is the number 1 guest need today.

But you already know your guests want a better Netflix, HBO Go, and surfing experience. What about your staff? Server based hotel systems are automatically limited in speed by processing capacity and memory. Cloud-based hotel software exponentially increases your computing power, but requires more external bandwidth.

Your staff may be using the best solutions that exist to speed up the check-in process, but too often, those solutions are hampered by the very speed of the network itself. Your guest service agents and hotel software systems are only as fast as the network to which they’re connected. Guest devices aside, VOIP PBX platforms, streaming video services, and cloud-based systems push the need for hotel bandwidth to increase.

Other than a direct fiber optic connection like Rosen Hotels, how can hoteliers provide faster wired and wireless hotel internet speed?

The first step is the incoming network. What speeds are offered by ISPs in your area? A good yardstick to start with is around 2-5 mbps per room. At 100 rooms, that would make a top-tier small-business package with 150 Mbps too constrained for just the hotel rooms. Any reputable ISP should have a hospitality sales team to get you a higher bandwidth connection than a typical business would require.

Second step, hardware. That $21 Router on Amazon, probably not a good fit. This PC World article offers insight into what makes a good business network hardware different than consumer level.

If you’ve upgraded your connection and your network hardware, you can use QoS service settings on your routers to create subnets and dedicate bandwidth, ensuring your business operations get the network speeds they need.

After all that, it may be time to call in the pros if you’re still having speed issues. No matter what, faster hotel internet speed not only delights your guests, but allows your employees to work faster, facilitating better guest service.

So, how fast is too fast? There is no such thing!

By Bryn Williams, StayNTouch, Director of Strategic Accounts