‘IS YOUR GUEST WIFI STOPPING YOU FROM GETTING A 5 OUT OF 5 REVIEW?’

Accom Management Guide Winter 2018

IS YOUR GUEST WIFI STOPPING YOU FROM GETTING A 5 OUT OF 5 REVIEW?

We all know you can’t keep everybody happy and there are some guests that always find something to complain about regardless of the facilities you have on offer.  These reviews can be damaging and be the reason that a booking isn’t made at your complex.

In a recent article by Carolyn Murphy from Revinate.com it states, “internet-related reviews have lower average scores (3.8 vs 4.0) than reviews that don’t mention Internet services, suggesting that when the Internet is mentioned in a review, it is normally seen as a drawback to the hotel experience.  A deeper look into the data reveals that internet-related reviews seem to most negatively affect the occurrence of 5 star reviews. From our investigation, we can infer that there are fewer five star reviews that mention Internet because people expect perfect Internet service.  Since it’s expected, they don’t think to write about it when it’s flawless. But when they don’t have a good Internet experience, they can’t award a hotel five stars.”

US company, Hotel Internet Services, conducted a search on Trip Advisor where they typed the term “WiFi” and discovered four important factors of wifi and travellers of today.

  1. Mediocre to Bad WiFi in an otherwise great hotel might have kept them from a 5 out of 5 rating.
  2. Hotel Guests also complained and gave bad reviews for not having Free WiFi. Reviewers felt the resort fees should cover that amenity.
  3. The search returned over 66K results. Some of these Hotel properties have hundreds to thousands of guests commenting on the WiFi Services in their room and within the Hotel whether good or bad.
  4. Spotty connections and poor connection speeds are amongst the highest complaints.

Although this report is US centric, I think we can all agree that it pretty well hits the nail on the head about wifi expectations of guests.

Guest wifi is no longer considered an amenity, it is an expected service.  It is a utility and important as running water, electricity and a comfortable bed.

Guests not only want wifi to be free, they want it to be unlimited data, fast, secure and reliable.

A 2015 Trip Advisor study found that 74% of travellers and 78% of millennials say Guest Wifi is THE MOST IMPORTANT hotel amenity.  Some guests consider free Guest Wifi more important than privacy when choosing a destination.

A survey conducted by Roomzzz found that 65% of guests connect and log on to a property’s guest wifi within seven minutes of stepping into their room.

Today’s travellers are bringing with them more and more Wifi demanding devices and it is not just about Wifi access or free Wifi hotspot.  They want easy connectivity and to have a strong connection with all their devices.  They want to sit by the pool and listen to their Pandora or Spotify music and read a book on their Ereader or relax in their room catching up on their favourite show on one of their streaming TV Apps on their Laptop, Tablet or phone. These are the conveniences they have at home and they now expect accommodation providers to deliver on these same conveniences.

Not to mention business travellers.  Their needs for a strong, secure and reliable connection is even more vital and when these travellers experience connectivity issues they get very upset and they get very vocal!   Not only are they posting on rating sites and social media but they are talking to friends and family about their experiences.

Some important areas to consider with your guest wifi:

Speed/Bandwidth – Guests want to check emails, browse the web and stream a movie or music and chat with family and friends via Skype. You will need the fastest connection you can get.  You may need multiple connections depending on where your site is located and what internet technology is available.

Signal Strength and Reliability: In room guest wifi systems are a must.  Each unit or hotel rooms needs its own wireless access point or modem to ensure that the signal is close enough and strong enough for devices with small antennas such as mobile phones.  External or hallway guest wifi systems will not allow for reliable connectivity of devices, particularly Smart TV’s.

Security: You need to ensure that each room or unit has its own password.  When your guests use a casting device you must ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate that device on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guests TV in a different unit.

Easy Connectivity:  Guest no longer want to have to go through a login screen (unless in a public or common area) and continually login throughout the day.  They want an In Room “At Home” TV Experience.  Sign on once and devices automatically connect when in range of the units signal.  Just as it is set up at home.

Streaming Devices:  You need to give the ability for guests to easily connect their Apple TV’s, Telstra TV’s, Chrome Casts and streaming devices without having to contact the manager or support to get the device MAC authenticated onto the guest wifi system as these devices do not have a browser to be able to log them on.

Data: Guests want unlimited data.  Gone are the days guest want to pay for more data or a faster connection. Our suggestion is to throttle each unit to 8 – 12Mbps (more if you have the bandwidth available).  You still have to share the bandwidth around and ensure everyone has enough to do what they want.

Start ticking off all the key areas above and give your guests what they want.  You wouldn’t skimp on electricity or hot water, don’t skimp on guest wifi.

  Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘Guest Entertainment – Bring Your Own Content (BYOC)’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2018

GUEST ENTERTAINMENT – EVERYTHING A GUEST NEEDS TO ENTERTAIN THEM IS IN THE PALM OF THEIR HAND BUT THEY NEED YOUR GUEST WIFI.

There is been a huge move for accommodation providers to start looking at Guest Entertainment.  BYOC – Bring your own content- everyone’s doing it!  Guests have access to absolutely anything they want by connecting to the internet on their devices through your guest wifi.

For some time now, guests have been able to access their own entertainment subscriptions and purchase videos on demand from every site imaginable online and watch it on their device.  But the times are changing.  They want to watch it on a larger screen – the TV in their hotel room.   We have been getting calls for guests wanting to hook up their AppleTV that they have brought on holidays with them and we easily connect it for them.  The AppleTV enables them to turn your TV into a SmartTV so they can access and stream their own content.  Other portable devices guests are starting to bring are Telstra TV’s, Roku’s, Google Chrome cast’s and Amazon is soon to release their Amazon Fire TV in Australia.

The whole family generally has subscriptions for services on the devices and their favourite shows are saved exactly where they left off watching them at home.  Guests can simply sign into their streaming services for customised programming during their stay with you and carry on their binge watching.  This is how they now want to watch television.

We can’t predict what’s coming up in technology in the next few years and how that will affect you and your guests.  But be wary of being locked into a lengthy contract on video on demand services for in room entertainment.  The guest is not going to pay for something they can bring with them and already pay for and quite often cheaper than your pay per view prices.  If they won’t pay, you are going to have to and honour your contract.

Gimmicks get old fast and focusing on giving your guests fast reliable wifi connections so they can do what they want at your site is important.  Enhance the guest experience.

What guests do in their house they want to do in the hotel room and investment into wifi and bandwidth is crucial.

Unlimited data is a must for any type of guest entertainment therefore a fast and reliable internet connection is imperative and an in room guest wifi system is a must – a wireless access point or wireless modem in each unit to ensure the signal is strong enough for streaming and to supply the bandwidth required for streaming.

A lot of accommodation providers are getting rid of Foxtel and PABX’s and using those funds to update their guest wifi and internet connections.  Guests can bring their Foxtel subscriptions with them and “nearly” everyone has a mobile phone.

When investing in an In Room Guest Wifi System and an Internet Management System, some key areas to consider:

  • Can you/your guest easily connect SmartTV’s, gaming and casting devices for streaming?  Guests, particularly millennials really do want to stream and view their own content on the hotel room TV.
  • When your guests use a casting device eg: Chromecast ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate it on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guests TV in a different unit.
  • How often does the guest have to login through a portal?
  • Can the wifi be set up the same as a home network – each device logs in once while they are at the site and receives unlimited data?   Guests want a home-like TV experience in their hotel room.
  • Can you throttle the speed of the connection by room to ensure you are sharing your bandwidth around fairly (remember one Ultra High Definition Stream can take 25Mbps of your bandwidth)?
  • Can numerous devices be connected in each hotel room as they are at home? Families are now travelling with on average 3 devices per person that they want to connect to your wifi.

Your guests will start demanding this connectivity and service soon if they have not done so already.

Invest in the technology and infrastructure and get your site Guest Entertainment ready!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘Golden Chain and Time Out Internet Profile’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2017

TIME OUT INTERNET OFFERS GUEST WIFI AND INTERNET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT, MANAGE AND USE WITH SEVEN-DAY SUPPORT TO CUSTOMERS AND THEIR GUESTS.

Judy Senn, from Time Out Internet, told us: “We have 165 sites Australia-wide from an Aboriginal community in the Kimberley, Norfolk Island to Cradle Mountain. We are a recognised industry leader in guest wifi and internet management systems.”

“Our system delivers NBN speeds to guests and allows for streaming of data, SmartTV connectivity and casting of content by guests. We have a new feature for customers on Satellite NBN (Skymuster). We can manage their on and off-peak data.”

With reliable connectivity of SmartTV’s for streaming Netflix and all other streaming and casting services, guest entertainment is a giant industry trend and is hugely important for accommodation providers such as Golden Chain to have consistent and reliable wifi and internet services and support, which Time Out Internet offers.

Is the NBN coming to you soon?

Accom Management Guide Winter 2017

NBN IS COMING SOON TO YOU.  HOW WILL IT BE DELIVERED TO YOUR COMPLEX?  FTTP, FTTN, FTTdp…WHAT DOES IT ALL EVEN MEAN?

There has been a bevy of activity on the streets of Australia lately with the ramp up of the rollout of the NBN with NBN Co and Telstra vans working away to install the infrastructure required to roll it out.

I now know we are to be connected to the NBN via FTTN – Fibre to the node technology.  Our area on the Sunshine Coast has seen “nodes” installed around town.  I know this because there is a node around the corner and whilst being installed we lost our telephone line and internet connection for four days.  I shudder whenever I see work in the pits, pillars and nodes around town, worried about our service being disconnected again and also our customer’s services which some have been affected also.

But what does FTTN – Fibre to the node even mean and what will it give us?  Researching this article took me straight to the NBN Co’s website where I was advised that “The nbn™ network is one of the most advanced technology projects in Australian history – but understanding how it gets to you is easy.”

Awesome, I thought.  Easy, they say.  So here is my best attempt to unravel the terminology behind the NBN technology and how it may be delivered to your complex.

Speed – NBN Co offer the following internet connection speeds (up to) nbn 12, 25, nbn 50, nbn 100 – this is Megabits per second (Mbps).

Service Providers – Service Providers will have access to these speeds for your area, however they may not offer them as available plans.  They may not offer unlimited monthly data either.  You need to shop around and get the fastest speed and the most data per month you can, particularly if you use the connection for your guest wifi system.   Unlimited monthly data is a must.  Once the NBN infrastructure is completed in your area, the Service Provider will manage the final connection to your complex.

You don’t have to stay with your current Service Provider (unless contracted).  If you’re under contract see if it can be upgraded to an NBN plan.  We’re hearing stories of providers scaring managers into signing up with them to the NBN as they’re being told their ADSL service will be turned off soon and they’ll lose their telephone number.  ADSL and PSTN services will be turned off approximately 18 months after the NBN is available in your area and you should be given plenty of notice.  Ensure you’re ready and plan for this.

Technology – How you receive the NBN will depend on your location.  NBN Co uses a variety of different technologies.

FTTN –Fibre to the node.  Fibre to the node is where fibre is run to a newly built street cabinet or “node”.  It allows the NBN network signal to travel over optic fibre from the exchange to the node and connect with the existing copper network to reach your premises.

FTTP – Fibre to the premises.  Fibre to the premises is where a fibre optic line will be run from the nearest available node, to your premises.  FTTP also requires an NBN network device to be installed inside your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

FTTB – Fibre to the building.  Fibre to the building is generally used when connecting an apartment block or similar type of building to the NBN network.  A fibre optic line is run to the buildings communications room and existing technology in the building is used to connect apartments.  The fibre node in the building communications room is usually a secure cabinet.

HFC – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial.  Hybrid Fibre Coaxial is used where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be used to reach the premises.  A HFC line will be run from the nearest available fibre node to your premises and an NBN network device will need to be installed at the point where the HFC line enters your premises and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

FTTdp –Fibre to the distribution point – Fibre to the distribution point sits somewhere between FTTN and FTTP in speed, cost and complexity.  It’s a new technology that may feature heavily in the future NBN roll out.  It alludes to being cheaper than FTTP, faster than FTTN and quick to roll out.  FTTdp brings the fibre almost to complexes doorsteps, with the distribution point referring to the individual junction box in the telecommunications pit in the street outside each property.  With fibre running to within metres of the property means near-gigabit network speeds can be achieved over the very short run of copper between premises and pit and an upgrade to full fibre to the premises is easily possible in the future.  In 2018, Fibre to the Curb FTTC will replace the term Fibre to the Distribution-Point FTTdp.

Fixed Wireless connections and Sky Muster services – These types of connections are used mostly in regional, rural and remote areas, where premises are spread out geographically over many square kilometres.

Fixed Wireless – Fixed Wireless is a form of connection where data is sent from a transmission tower located as much as 14kms away and travels wirelessly to an antenna on the roof of the complex.  It requires an NBN network device to be installed at the point where the cable from the roof antenna enters your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

SkyMuster – The connection of some remote and rural locations services can be delivered via the Sky Muster satellite.  A satellite dish is installed on the premises and receives the NBN network signal from the Sky Muster satellite.  Sky Muster connections also require an NBN network device to be installed at the point where the cable from the roof satellite dish enters your complex and requires power to operate and only installable by an approved NBN Installer or service provider.

I hope I’ve cleared up a few things.  That was easy, wasn’t it?

My recommendation is to put your address in the NBN Co’s website and it should tell you when your address has NBN available and the technology that will be used to deliver it.  However, with so many different technologies being used to roll out the NBN and some of them being replaced, the information may vary.

 

Don’t settle for the first Service Providers quote.  Shop around and get what is best for your business and guest wifi system.  Be prepared for the changeover.  Here’s hoping the NBN is the panacea we have all been waiting for.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘2016 The Year of the data explosion’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2017

2016 THE YEAR OF THE DATA EXPLOSION

It has been an interesting year in regards to the massive amounts of data people are downloading and uploading.  Internet connections are being put under immense strain from streaming video downloads and uploading of data.  More and more people are uploading – posting on social media, uploading video files, video conferencing and Skype calls and synchronising numerous devices together.

Australians’ requirements for data exploded in the last year as online streaming video on demand (SVOD) took Australia by storm.  It is estimated approximately 2.7 million Australians watch Netflix.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics June 2016 Internet Usage Report says that the total volume of data downloaded in the three months ending 30 June 2016 was 2.1 million Terabytes (or 2.1 Exabytes).  This is a 22.3% increase in data downloads when compared with the three months ending 31 December 2015.   From June 2015 to June 2016, the volume of data downloaded by fixed line broadband showed a 51.8% increase.  Upload statistics were unavailable.

Unfortunately our upload speeds in Australia are a disgrace and need to improve and increase dramatically.

Your internet connection over the Christmas holiday period would have been put under the pump.  With advances in online technology and streaming of television means your guests are using and wanting more data and bandwidth on a daily basis.

Increasing your bandwidth with an Internet Service Provider is crucial to ensure that your wifi is delivering the speeds to your guests.

To give you an idea of some of the data requirements for different online technology services I have taken some figures from WhistleOut’s Broadband Usage Guide – 29th Sept 2016.  Please remember that these figures change daily and differ from person to person.

  • The average Australian spends around 48 hours browsing the web per month or about 7GB per month per person in a household.
  • Netflix and other streaming TV services – Standard Definition (SD) viewing expect around 700MB data usage per hour. For High Definition (HD) streaming expect around 3GB per hour data usage. Streaming is the number one data hog.  Netflix automatically chooses the best resolution stream based on the speed of the connection.
  • A standard length movie on iTunes requires 4GB for a HD file and about 1.5GB for a SD copy. TV shows about 1.5GB for HD and 800MB for SD.
  • Facebook & social media – approximately 2Mb per minute (minimum) depending on what is being done – if there are videos watched or embedded and numerous photos viewed, these figures spike dramatically. Videos are embedded in nearly everything now.
  • For every hour of 720p (resolution) video footage on YouTube you’re using up around 2.2GB of data.
  • In 2012, the average YouTube viewer watched 6 hours of video per month. YouTube has since stopped publishing this statistic, but does claim that the number of hours watched by users goes up by 60% each year.
  • Renting movies and TV shows through services like iTunes, BigPond Movies and Xbox Movies can require a large download. Normally the size of the file is in the product description.  Video streaming uses up as much data as downloading the video –you use the same amount of data every time you watch it.
  • Purchasing games through online stores and downloading the game files – it can be more than 50Gb per game. Then there are patches and updates that can be Gigabytes in size.
  • Skype or Video calls use more and it varies largely depending on the quality of the image being sent. It’s very close to YouTube and other video streaming services in this respect, around 40MB every 5 minutes, or half a GB per hour.

So how did your internet bandwidth cope this Christmas holiday period gone?  Are you able to give more free data to your guests or will this cripple your internet connection?

My suggestion is to look into getting unlimited monthly data on a mid-band plan (SHDSL) or the NBN (if available in your area) or at the least a second ADSL2 connection.

Data and bandwidth requirements are only going to grow more and more every year.  With the NBN, streaming of video and Foxtel looking to stream their services in the very near future you need to start thinking about how are you going to deliver this to your guests and/or allow them to successfully watch what they bring with them.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

 

‘Delivering wifi signal to guests: how to choose the correct method’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2016

DELIVERING THE WIFI SIGNAL TO YOUR GUESTS – HOW TO CHOOSE THE CORRECT METHOD FOR YOU AND YOUR GUESTS.

In my last article, Spring 2015 edition, I went into detail about how to choose a guest wifi system and a supplier.  The article offered you advice on choosing the system to best suit your business and guests requirements and focused on choosing a supplier and the features and functions delivered by their Internet Management System.

This article is going to focus on how to get the wifi signal to your guest in a manner that is going to suit your requirements now and into the future by a reputable and accredited supplier, using accredited equipment.

Devices are getting smaller and smaller and there has been a saturation of wireless signals into the spectrum that were not there a year, two or three years ago.

Because most wifi devices work on 2.4 Ghz range and this frequency is the unlicensed spectrum so any manufacturer can use it for any device that can have a wireless signal attached to it, including remote controls, mice, keyboards, etc.  The frequency is only going to get more saturated as more devices become wirelessly accessible.

There are all these signals out in the air competing against each other for their piece of the spectrum.  What this does is drown your wifi signal the more signals that are out there.

Your external wifi system (hitting your building with wifi from the outside) may have been working extremely well 2 years ago, but you may be finding that the signal strength is degrading and connectivity and transmission from the access point to the device trying to use the wifi, has depleted.  There are more wifi signals now between the access point and the device trying to connect – hence depleting and degrading the signal and transmit ability.  It is only going to get worse as more and more equipment is being introduced with wireless capability.

So how do you overcome this?  You have to bring the access point(s) closer to the devices trying to connect – closer to your guest and you can’t get much closer than in their motel room or holiday unit.  By having a device per motel room or unit/apartment you are giving them their own signal to connect to with very little interference from other wireless devices.

The experience for the guest will be better with less drop outs and if you do have a fast internet connection (NBN) the data will flow faster.

You may not be slated for the NBN for another two to three years but still require a better wifi delivery.  By starting to look at going in room now or even moving in room soon, will future proof you for the NBN.  The suppliers you speak to should be asking you about the NBN and when you are getting it and advising you of what you can do now and in the future.

There are different ways to deliver the in-room experience.  If your building has Cat 5 data cabling for your telephones, these can be used.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a building with Cat 5 data cabling – Cat 3 telephone lines can be utilised if you have an analog PABX system and will still allow your telephones to work.  These solutions need to be scoped accordingly and there are certain requirements needed at the site – your wifi vendor/supplier should be asking you these questions and looking at the most cost effective solution for you depending on what you have for them to work with.

There has been some significant changes in technology this year and the availability of equipment and devices from overseas, particularly China has seen technology now in reach of wifi vendors/suppliers and being able to on sell to you at non-exorbitant prices.

This is VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW.  Ensure that the wifi vendor/supplier you choose is using equipment that is C Ticked/A Ticked/Compliance Marked for Australian use.  .  If you have equipment installed that has not been approved to be used in Australia, the fines are hefty – thousands and thousands of dollars to you and the wifi vendor/supplier.

Even data cable has to have a C Tick/A Tick/Compliance Approval – this is how strict the enforcement is by ACMA.

Always ensure that the wifi vendor is an accredited data cabler – data cabling is a regulated industry in Australia and again the fines are huge if you are found to have “illegally” laid data cabling.  The person doing any data cabling must provide you with a TCA1 form for any new cabling laid.  If they do not willingly hand this to you, ask them to give you one and check their accreditation.  They should be carrying a credit card sized card with them with their credentials.

Before making any decisions, ensure you compare different solutions.

  • Ask if all the equipment being used for your site has a C Tick/A Tick/Compliance Mark (including the data cable)
  • Ask the wifi supplier if they are an accredited data cabler and ask for their credentials.
  • Call their existing customers and find out how their wifi system is going and was the installation completed professionally.
  • Ask them has it met their business needs?
  • Ask them how is the support for them and their guests?
  • Would they recommend the wifi supplier?

Sometimes the cheaper option is too good to be true.  There is always a catch and you need to be aware of your rights.  Ask the questions and be informed.

 Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘No free wifi may equal no guests’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2016

NO FREE WIFI MAY EQUAL NO GUESTS

I get asked all the time by accommodation providers why should I invest in wifi technology at my site when mobile phones are coming with more and more monthly data?  Why would guests want or need my wifi when they can use their own data?

Mobile phones work on the 3G/4G networks (mobile networks) provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodafone with Telstra having the largest coverage around Australia.  Cities tend to have good mobile network infrastructure to cope with the large amount of people that connect to them.  Regional areas generally aren’t as lucky, lacking in sufficient infrastructure.  What this means is that the mobile networks can get very congested – particularly during peak times such as school holidays.  These networks can get so saturated it feels like the tap has been turned off to a trickle, sometimes just a drip!

Guests will always look for free wifi first or any alternative other than having to use their own data, particularly if they are from the Cyber Generation and Generation Y (millennials) as they are called.  Cyber Generation and millennials use the internet for directions, GPS, ticketless travel, reviews on where to eat, seeking out local attractions, scheduling services, correspondence, social media, etc. – they are all necessities of their day and a necessity of their stay with you!  Skype and Facetime use huge amounts of data and most people, particularly foreign travellers are using these applications to touch base with their loved ones regularly.

Parents are relying on wifi to keep their children entertained with portable devices.  Baby boomers are travelling with a minimum of two devices each and most of the Silent Generation (not all!) have a mobile phone but would prefer to use their larger screened pad devices or laptops connected to wifi to communicate whilst away instead of using the smaller screen of their mobile phone.

Guests are requiring some free data and a strong reliable wifi system to connect to, to stay in contact with their lives!

Many of the large mobile data plans come with a lock in contract with a large monthly fee, often too expensive for people to commit to and a foreign traveller is not going to sign up for a 2 year plan on a 3 week holiday!

Accommodation providers need to give their guests what they want – free wifi!

As an accommodation provider you will do whatever it takes to ensure your guests have an enjoyable and comfortable stay with you.  Free wifi is an expectation of your guests and it is essential and crucial.  A negative expectation is generally followed up with a negative review, the guest not returning to your venue and certainly not recommending your site to their family and friends.

Guests are logging into your wifi within minutes of arriving in their room.  It is the first thing I do regardless if I am travelling for business or pleasure, is to set up my laptop and ensure I have a wifi connection and I am online.

As faster broadband internet connections with unlimited monthly data are becoming more available and the pricing more cost effective, it is important as an accommodation provider that you upgrade your internet connection to meet the requirements of your guests.  An investment in a faster connection may be all it takes to be able to offer more a larger amount of free data to your guests.  Not to mention it will help keep your business up and running with faster connectivity for your office as well as the ability to run Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems saving you money.

Free site assessments for guest wifi are available – book in and find out how your guest wifi can be improved.  Stay ahead of your competitors and ensure you are meeting and exceeding the expectations of your guests every stay so they keep coming back to you.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

 

Golden Chain Supplier Profile

Accom Management Guide Spring 2016

Time Out Internet delivers wifi

TIME OUT INTERNET supplier profile

Are you losing guests because your wifi is weak and slow?

Guests want the strongest and fastest wifi possible. Wifi is touted as the Number 1 amenity requested by guests but it can also be the Number 1 complaint if you don’t have excellent connectivity.

Sites like Trip Advisor give guests the ability to test and report on your wifi . Stop losing guests to better connected competitors.

Time Out Internet has helped over 150 businesses nationally with their wifi requirements.  We cut through all the jargon, talking and explaining to you the options you have, in language you will understand.

If you are tired of bad reviews we can help you!

As a recognised industry leader in guest wifi and internet management systems, Time Out Internet can provide your hotel, motel or resort with unparalleled customer service, hardware, management system and support.
For a free site assessment! Call us on 1300 55 77 54

‘Foxtel, Netflix, wifi: what does your guest value the most?’

Accom Management Guide Autumn 2016

FOXTEL, NETFLIX, WIFI – WHAT DOES YOUR GUEST VALUE THE MOST?  HAVE YOU ASKED YOUR GUESTS LATELY WHAT THEY WANT WHEN STAYING AT A YOUR SITE?  

Is it time to look at what you outlay for your guests in room entertainment and what they really want when they stay with you?

FOXTEL – There are so many different plans and prices for Foxtel – every site can be different.  Foxtel can provide a family of five staying at your complex, entertainment on one television in the apartment, in one room.  Movies are popular and for most accounts, the sporting channels appear to be the reason why most accommodation providers keep their Foxtel accounts.  It is becoming more common now that most major sports in Australia can be viewed on free to air television these days or streamed from the internet.  Many international visitors can stream their favourite football game from accounts they have set up back home.

Foxtel Play launched last year and has a no lock in contract and is an internet delivered TV service to be available across a range of computers, TVs and games consoles.  Foxtel Play customers can watch TV shows and movies across multiple internet connected devices through the Foxtel Go app.  Foxtel Play enables guests to subscribe by the month with no lock in contracts and build their own entertainment service from a range of genre based channel packages.

Why are you paying for Foxtel when the guest can bring their own?

NETFLIX – In the US Netflix has a commercial/corporate package they are starting to roll out to accommodation providers.  The pricing details were not readily available and at the time of writing this, Netflix did not have commercial/corporate package pricing in Australia.   I am sure one will be available in the near future.  To set up Netflix at a 20 apartment site, you would need five unique email addresses as one account allows four concurrent sessions to be running from one account.  For $14.99 per month for a premium account you could have Netflix for four apartments.  To cover 20 apartments your outlay would be $74.95 per month.  The upside of Netflix is that you do not have to supply it to your guest – THEY CAN BRING THEIR OWN!  They can stream it from on their devices.  Most guests are opting to do this however you must have an internet connection that will accommodate the bandwidth required to stream video.

There are a lot of complexes that may have difficulty meeting the bandwidth requirements for Netflix.   Connection speeds do decrease during peak-usage times.  For Netflix it would be around the 6pm – 10.30 pm time frames.

Netflix is usually set to stream at the highest quality that your internet connection will allow.  If your internet connection has fluctuating speeds then the video will buffer and possibly switch to lower definition mid-program.

WIFI – In room wifi systems are paramount for streaming video – access points must be close to guest’s devices to ensure connectivity and transmission.  Wifi can provide a family of five the ability to watch television online (Foxtel Go if they wish), play an online game, stream video (eg: Netflix), be on Facebook and do their emails all at the same time, anywhere in the apartment!  In room wifi systems allow Smart TV’s to be used in apartments.  Ensuring you have a fast internet connection is very important to being able to offer the services such as streaming video though.

Are you now questioning why you pay the astronomical monthly fees to provide Foxtel to guests who can “bring their own at their own cost?”  You may be better off putting the money towards upgrading your wifi to an in room wifi system and upgrading your internet connection for better bandwidth.  Your guests will be thanking you for it!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet

‘Understanding Wifi’

Accom Management Guide Spring 2015

THE DEMAND FOR WIFI FOR ACCOMMODATION PROVIDERS IS ONLY GOING TO INCREASE.  PEOPLE WANT TO BE CONNECTED, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE AND IS FAST BECOMING SECOND NATURE IN EVERYONE’S LIVES LIKE TV AND MOBILE PHONES HAVE IN THE PAST.

As a supplier of guest wifi, we are asked all the time what is wifi?  I thought it may be handy for you to understand wifi and answer a few questions about it regardless if you already have it installed or you may be looking at installing it in the near future.

What is Wifi?

Wifi/WiFi/Wi-Fi is a high speed internet and network connection without the use of wires and cables.  Wifi allows you to move your devices around and connect multiple devices to the one internet connection quickly and easily.

A wireless network uses radio waves just like mobile phones, TV and radios do.

Many devices can use Wifi eg: personal computers, laptops, tablet devices, video game consoles, Smart Phones, Smart TV’s, Digital Cameras, Digital Audio players.  They can connect to the Internet via wireless access points (routers) or a hotspot.

We are often asked if Wifi operates in the same frequency as microwave ovens is it safe?

2.4Ghz Wifi access points/router(s) put out 4.0 watts and your microwave oven puts out 1000 watts.  It would take a lot of wifi routers to cook a turkey – more than you think because the antenna on the router is designed to spread the power evenly around the room/area rather than concentrate it on the centre of the oven such as a microwave does.  The intensity of a Wifi signal is around is 100,000 times less than a microwave oven.  The oven is a targeted device that operates at very high voltages and short distances.  Wifi routers operate at very low voltages, broadcast in all directions, and are used at relatively long distances.

In comparison to a mobile phone which is held close to the brain it is estimated that you get a bigger dose of microwaves from one 20 minute phone call than from a year’s Wifi.  Put simply, twenty laptops and two routers is roughly equivalent to one mobile phone.

Why it isn’t a one size fits all technology? 

When scoping a wifi solution for businesses there are many things to take into consideration.  Just because a complex only has 8 units and is on one level does not mean that one access point or router is going to give adequate coverage to the site.  Buildings have not been designed with Wifi in mind.  Concrete and metal are Wifi’s nemesis.  When scoping a site for a Wifi solution we have to be able to get a decent signal from where the internet connection comes into the building (office/reception area in most cases) out to the access points/routers around the complex.  This is not an easy feat if the signal has to travel through numerous layers of concrete and/or metal.  You also need to be able to power the devices and there is not always easy access to external common power around sites.  Data cabling in all rooms/units allows for access points/routers to be installed internally thus giving more options to properties with data cabling as to which is the cheaper option – an external system or an internal one depending on signal coverage.

Wifi signal and signal strength – why does it vary at different times of the day?

There are a lot of different things that can affect Wifi signal strength.  The obvious one is the distance you are with your device from the access point.  The closer you are the signal strength should be stronger.  Phones and tablet devices have smaller internal antennas than laptops, therefore when using these devices you will need to be closer to the access point for better signal strength.

Ever noticed at 3 pm when the kids get home from school that your Wifi slows down?  If there are a lot of devices using the Wifi network the signal strength can depleted as there is only so much to go around.  So when you have a full house at your complex, your Wifi network may be slower than usual.

Trees when wet become similar to a concrete wall as water is the same frequency as Wifi.  Therefore if you have a lot of trees on your site, when it is raining signal strength can be depleted.

What is the difference between Wifi and 3G?

3G and WiFi are communication technologies that provide wireless internet access to you and your guests.  They are two completely different networks and the major difference between wifi and 3G is the way they connect to the internet.  Wifi connects to the internet through a wireless network and has a short range.

3G is a type of cellular network and connects to the internet wherever there is mobile phone service/tower.  3G’s range is a lot wider than a wireless network however can become easily congested with hundreds if not thousands of users on them.  Accessing the internet through 3G on your mobile phone usually comes at a greater cost than wifi, especially if you are travelling overseas and using International Roaming.

I hope that this article has helped you understand Wifi a little more.  2015 will see greater demands on your wifi networks.  Ensure that yours is scoped correctly and suits your sites requirements.  Happy New Year!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet