‘How to choose the correct guest wifi system for your business when you know nothing about wifi?’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2015

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE CORRECT GUEST WIFI SYSTEM FOR YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT WIFI?

As an accommodation provider and business owner there are many different hats you have to wear on a daily basis and “jack of all trades” often springs to mind.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and you can’t be an expert at everything, particularly when it comes to the ever changing and evolving world of technology; and in this instance – guest wifi.

You may have a wifi system already and be looking to upgrade as it is not meeting your businesses needs.

I have compiled some things for you to think about and questions to ask before choosing a wifi system/supplier.  This information is essential when scoping a wifi system to meet your businesses and site requirements.

Installation of the system

Ask the wifi supplier these questions before making any decisions:

  • If you pay for or pay a monthly fee/lease for the equipment and installation, do you have the ability to provide whatever amount of free data to your guests you want to, when you want to?
  • Do you have the ability to sell data –set the price and receive 100% of the revenue?
  • If you are not paying anything for the equipment or installation, can you give free wifi and sell some more?
  • Can you provide an amount of free data per day per room/unit/apartment and if so, ask your supplier how much will it cost for you to provide the following amounts of free data per day per room/unit/apartment – 500Mb and 1Gb
  • Can the guest autonomously access their login details for the free data or do you have to hand them out from reception?
  • Can the guest easily purchase more data at a competitive price? If so can that pricing be changed/lowered by you?

 Free Wifi

An amount of free data given to a guest upon arrival is NOT enough to keep them happy for their stay.  What if an update has come out for an application and that free data amount you give the guest for their whole stay is eaten up by the update in 5 minutes?  You will have a cranky guest.

Microsoft released an update in July that was 250Mb – updates are getting bigger and bigger and most occur automatically when a device connects to a wifi network.

Guests want an amount of free data EVERY day of their stay – you need to be able to give them some free data EVERY day.

The minimum amount of free data you want to be providing your guests is 500Mb of data per day and the amount is only going to go up and very rapidly.  Your wifi system needs to have the capability to be able to change as and when you need and it’s imperative that you know what your out of pocket expense is going to be before you choose a wifi supplier!

You do not want any surprises down the track if you have chosen a supplier whose model is to re-coup their overheads as they installed the system for free of charge to you.  Which will not give you the flexibility to do what your business requires when you need to – someone has to pay for it – it will be you– and it won’t be cheap!

Conference Facilities/ Group Meeting Rooms

You must ensure that you meet the needs of conference/meeting attendees and the most important service is wifi connectivity.  An average participant arrives at a meeting/conference with three (3) devices that can connect to wifi.  Access to the wifi in the facility must be easy, quick and reliable and for the attendees – FREE!

Ask the wifi supplier these questions:

  • Does the wifi system allow for conference usage?
  • If you have a conference facility/meeting rooms, what is the maximum number of concurrent users/devices that may be online in the conference facility at the one time?
  • Can you have one login for multiple conference users so that you don’t have to give a separate login to every conference attendee?
  • Can you get a report at the end of the conference with the amount of data used by the conference and charge the conference organiser for the usage?

Before making any decisions, ensure you are comparing apples to apples – every wifi supplier has a different business model.

  • Read their testimonials.
  • Call their existing customers and find out how their wifi system is going.
  • Has it met their business needs?
  • Is it easy to use – for them and for their guests?
  • How is the support for them and their guests?
  • Would they recommend the wifi supplier?

I hope that this helps in your path to finding a wifi supplier for your business.  Ask the questions.  Gather your information.  Make informed decisions.

 Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet