WaaS for the Hospitality Industry: Benefits and Features
If you manage a hotel, resort, or spa, you already have your hands full. You’re busy monitoring employee performance, analyzing how to improve service, tracking upcoming events your staff is responsible for, ensuring that events are well-managed, and following financial reports with an eye towards improving profitability. What else could someone possibly put onto your already overflowing plate? How many hats can a hospitality manager reasonably be expected to wear?
Hospitality Industry in the Technology Business
In a world where technology is so embedded in hotel guests’ daily lives, most hotel guests now arrive at the property, request the hotel WiFi password along with their room keys, and log onto the hotel’s wireless network within minutes.
So in that context, the hospitality industry is now in the technology infrastructure business -- which can be quite overwhelming for hotel managers that are already overtaxed with management, upkeep, sanitation, guest satisfaction, security, customer service, marketing, sales, finance, hiring, and purchasing.
How can a hotel, resort, or spa manager keep their WiFi in tip-top shape, so it provides the performance, reliability, and security that guests demand? Wireless- or WiFi- as a Service (Waas)
WiFi as a Service (WaaS) Builds on Familiarity with SaaS (Software as a Service)
If you’re a tech-savvy hotel manager, you’ve almost certainly heard of and use software as a service (SaaS) tools such as Salesforce, G Suite, or Microsoft Office 365. Compared to traditional software that was widely used throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, SaaS is licensed and distributed quite differently -- as subscriptions and centrally hosted for delivery over the Internet.
With the SaaS subscription-centric model, businesses can more rapidly scale up, and scale down, with more predictable operating expenses (OpEx), as opposed to substantial capital expenditures (CapEx). Also, because SaaS is centrally-hosted and managed, software updates can be delivered as often as needed -- sometimes several times a week.
Similar to SaaS, WiFi as a service (WaaS) provides a lot of very similar and highly-compelling benefits to hotels, resorts, and spas.
48-Month Hotel WiFi Network Refresh
All the way back in 1965, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, predicted that within ten years the industry would be "Cramming more components onto integrated circuits." Years later, Moore’s Law would be more widely popularized as the observation that the number of transistors in a densely integrated circuit doubles about every two years.
How is that relevant today to hotel WiFi? Think about the quantum leaps forward in processing power and storage that every new generation of iPhone or Android smartphone brings. Consider all of the new WiFi-enabled mobile devices that a family or road warrior would travel with -- way beyond just laptops, tablets, and smartphones: now including smartwatches, fitness trackers, personal assistants, and IoT-enabled gadgets.
Regardless of how vigorously a hotel invests in wireless network infrastructure today, over time those access points (APs) will not be able to keep up with exponentially growing demands for higher performance, security, and reliability.
When a WaaS program can provide a hotel, resort, or spa with a 48-month network refresh, so all wireless networking hardware is upgraded every four years, this proactive approach ensures that the property’s WiFi technology infrastructure can keep pace with the ever-increasing demands of families, business travelers, and hosted events.
No Capital Expenses
For a large property, especially with hundreds of rooms and event space, investments in technology infrastructure needed for hotel WiFi can be well into the six-figure range -- many times, even more. These kinds of large capital expenses often require years of advanced planning and layers of approvals.
However, when the capital expenses of WiFi can be shifted to operating expenses, where all costs are wrapped into a single monthly payment, this flexibility helps hotel managers more rapidly get purchase approval and makes for much easier budgeting.
Custom Design From Hospitality Industry-Experienced Engineers
When it comes to designing a reliable, high-performance, secure wireless network, the needs of hotels, resorts, and spas are entirely different than other commercial properties.
While guest WiFi is in-demand among a host of other industries, including education, retailing, healthcare, and manufacturing, the hospitality industry brings its unique requirements to the design, installation, and ongoing management of wireless networking.
As a result, it’s especially crucial for hospitality management to look for WiFi as a service (WaaS) providers and programs that are backed by industry-experienced engineers that have worked with similar hotels, resorts, and spas.
WiFi Performance Monitoring
In much the same way that a hotel manager proactively stays on top of its occupancy rates and profitability, when hotel guests consider reliable WiFi as much of an entitlement as electricity, air conditioning, heat, and running water, hotel managers need to keep their hotel’s WiFi in tip-top shape.
However unless the property has the luxury of having a full-time, on-site IT administrator with substantial experience in wireless networking infrastructure, WiFi performance monitoring is often neglected -- until minor performance problems escalate into a network-down emergency.
This reactive, fire-fighting approach can be a big, expensive mistake -- which can be easily prevented with an effective hotel-specific WaaS program.
Managed WiFi Services
In the past, when a hotel invested in wireless networking for its property, it purchased hardware, low voltage cabling, installation services, and ongoing support and repair services on an as-needed basis.
As hotel guests and staff have become way more dependent on wireless networking infrastructure, this outdated approach no longer provides hotel managers with the kind of predictability it needs on all fronts -- financial predictability, reliability, security, performance, and most of all: response time to network-down incidents.
Managed WiFi services give hotel managers what they need most: true predictability and accountability when and where it matters most.
Access to SecurEdge Cloud
Ten years ago, most hotel managers would’ve been completely overwhelmed when trying to make heads or tails out of their hotel WiFi performance.
However, with the right kind of simple, easy-to-follow cloud-based interface, such as the kind provided by SecurEdge Cloud, hotel managers can easily login whenever they want to see how various parts of their wireless network are performing.
For ease-of-use, if a hotel manager is tech-savvy enough to understand the basics of its property’s monitoring systems for its physical security, fire protection, and elevators, that same manager will be able to have a much better handle on its hotel WiFi by merely using their website browser to login to their property’s instance of SecurEdge Cloud.
Weekly Health Reports
As mentioned earlier, hotel managers are continually looking to head off any future problems with occupancy rates or profitability while they still have time to course-correct.
The right WiFi as a service (WaaS) provider and program gives hotel managers similar IT superpowers. Through weekly health reports, hotel managers can understand how their wireless network infrastructure is being used, identify potential problem spots, and become empowered to resolve minor issues before they escalate into network-down emergencies.
The Bottom Line on WiFi as a Service (WaaS) for Hotel WiFi
Business travelers, families, and events are demanding more performance, reliability, and security from hotel WiFi than they ever have before. This presents some complex and inter-related challenges for hospitality managers overseeing hotels, resorts, and spas.
In this article, you’ve learned about why every hotel is now in the technology infrastructure business and how hotel managers should evaluate their wireless as a service options through the lens of proactive hardware refreshes, expense models, industry experience, performance monitoring, managed services, management console software, and weekly reporting.
To learn more about how your hotel can provide faster, more reliable, and more secure WiFi to its guests, employees, and events, request a design from the experts at designing, installing, and managing WiFi in hotels, resorts, and spas.
Joshua Feinberg is President of the Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute where he finds revenue growth opportunities that companies are currently missing. This includes helping clients differentiate, get found earlier in the buyer's journey, achieve trusted advisor status, and command premium pricing power to drive sustained, profitable, revenue growth. He's been writing professionally for the IT services market since 1998 and is a former Microsoft Corporation content provider for its Small Business Server (SBS) product teams and small business channel partner teams. As a big fan of inbound marketing and inbound sales, Joshua holds 10 HubSpot Academy certifications. A New Jersey native and Rutgers grad, Joshua now lives in South Florida with his wife and two children.