Free WiFi is less of a luxury and more of an expectation these days.
In fact, 89% of people believe that WiFi should be provided with a standard room. 32% of people said they would not stay at a hotel if it didn’t offer reliable WiFi.
Weak WiFi in hotels can lead to negative reviews and poor guest experience – even if your service is on point.
So, getting that perfect WiFi coverage is going to be of vital importance to your customers. It could be the difference between winning a booking or losing it to a competitor.
Why Is Hotel WiFi Important For Guests?
It might be a bit cliché to say everyone is “Doing it for the ‘gram”, but social media is a strong theme running through everyone’s holidays.
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have created a culture where we want to share our experiences with friends, family and even strangers. From young teenagers through to older retirees, everyone wants to share their photos.
Not being able to share their photos online may mean they head down to the internet café, coffee shops or another hotel for breakfast or dinner to access the internet. That’s lost revenue that could have easily been in your till.
But it’s not just social media.
A culture of being always connected comes with a price. Many employees still keep up with work while they are on holiday. Some because they feel obliged, others because they may feel anxious about a work emergency and they need to put their mind at rest. 13% of hotel guests have missed an important work email due to weak Wi Fi connections.
It’s not all work-related.
When you’re on holiday, you want to get away from frustrations. Switch off your mind, watch some rubbish telly and catch up on some podcasts. The last thing someone wants is constant buffering or no connection at all.
It might seem weird, but those things can ruin someone’s holiday. Frustrations lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews lead to lost revenue.
How Can Hotel WiFi Help Staff?
Hotel staff need to be productive. Often, they have a lot of work in a short amount of time. Technical glitches and delays can add unnecessary strain to an already busy process.
Point of sale terminals often need WiFi work, so having a strong connection can help your business to run smoothly.
Additionally, allowing staff to communicate with each other quickly and efficiently can help project management along. Cleaners and maintenance can easily send high quality photos of rooms or damage over email and dedicated group chats. Staff can quickly search the internet or an internal network to answer guest questions.
Getting The Right Hotel Wifi Network
A survey by Zyxel reported that 40% of hoteliers said their top complaint was regarding slow or no WiFi. But, 25% of hoteliers report that their internet struggles to cope with demands.
So what can hoteliers do?
Having an optimised network which gives guests a seamless and fast approach may seem like something only enterprise hotels can afford to implement. But while it can be expensive to set up, the Return on Investment can be high, even for a smaller hotel.
A selection of Access Points and switches can do the job for any size hotel. Plus the same network can be wired up to control surveillance cameras too.
A cloud-managed approach to your networking can bring a lot of control and analytics to your network while keeping an eye on what’s going on. All this can be monitored and maintained with minimal input from an IT consultant.
Four Top Considerations For Hotel Wifi
- Visibility And Control – Keeping an eye out for where bandwidth demands are highest around the hotel complete can help improve experiences for everyone. Keeping your network running throughout the day and night can be tricky, so you need a platform which can help you monitor and maintain easily.
- Segmenting The Network – Keeping guests, staff, and operations networks separate will be imperative to keeping your network secure. Your WiFi network should segment these channels while keeping your network seamless.
- Scalability And Flexibility – As your hotel gets busier, your network will feel the strain. Your network should be able to scale with your business.
- Future-proof – Your network needs to be able to cope with your current peaks and troughs, but also the more demanding applications that are coming in the next few years.
Introducing Zyxel NebulaFlex
Hospitality is one of Zyxel’s specialities. They have deployed hospitality solutions in over 6,200 hotels and over 201,000 hotel rooms. They offer enterprise-class networking for small business budgets.
Their NebulaFlex cloud-managed system is an excellent way to build a network which hits all four of the top considerations for cloud-managed software.
NebulaFlex allows you to control and manage compatible switches, access points and gateways, all from one place with ease. NebulaFlex makes network management easy.
Zyxel NebulaFlex has incredible features which are designed with businesses in mind:
- Cloud-based, single-view management
- Zero-touch deployment
- Enhanced configuration and analysis
- Real-time management with history
NebulaFlex comes in two versions: Free or Pro licences. For most small hotels, the free licence will give you the control you need over your network. For more extensive networks, the pro allows further analysis, monitoring and options to optimise your network further.
Your staff and guests will benefit from a fast and seamless network experience.
Setting Up Your Network
The Nebula Flex range comes with a whole solution of networking. A simple setup for a small hotel would look like the following:
Unified Security Gateway
Security in your network is essential. You have the responsibility of protecting your guests from being exposed to malware and spying. Not only will your guests be accessing their bank accounts, emails or other private data over your connection, but your point of sale terminals and other vital equipment will be connected to the network too. This means credit card data and other transactions could be vulnerable.
The Zyxel USG310 Unified Security Gateway features:
- Industry-leading firewall, Anti-Malware/ Virus, Anti-Spam, Content Filtering, IDP, and Application Patrol functionality.
- Integrated WLAN controller that enables users to manage up to 34 APs through a centralised user interface.
- Swift and secure firmware upgrades
A Layer 3 switch will act as the base of your network, allowing all parts of the network to join together. Your Network Video Recorder (NVR), your WLAN controller and any monitoring and control nodes you need.
This will then connect to several parts of the network via Layer 2 PoE switches.
The Zyxel GS2210-24HP Network switch will work perfectly here. The GS2210-24HP features:
- 24 ports
- 4 Gigabit Combo Switches
- Built-in smart fan which adjusts it’s speed depending on temperature
- High power budget of 375w
- L2 multicast, IGMP snooping, MVR and voice VLAN for convergence
- Enhanced network protection with IP source guard, DHCP snooping, ARP inspection, CPU protection
- L2, L3 and L4 filtering, MAC freeze, port isolation, guest VLAN for improved isolation and access control
These switches can connect to the CCTV/IP camera network, VoIP phones and Access Points.
One NWA5123-AC in each guest room will give guests a robust and steady coverage while they are in their room. The NWA5123 series has low-noise elements meaning your guests can sleep soundly.
- A high-efficiency antenna module
- Premium power amplifiers
- Equal signal coverage in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band
- Zyxel AP Configurator (ZAC) builds templates that allow users to copy one profile to several AP
- Zero-touch configuration
- Assign IP addresses to multiple APs through just one platform
For hallways and guest rooms, a Zyxel WAC6103D 3×3 Access Point will fit the bill. These ultra-fast, ultra-slim access points provide the optimal signal coverage fitting for either ceiling-mount or wall-mount deployments. Its stylish, slim industrial design perfectly blends into decorations.
The WAC6103D access point features:
- Advanced Gigabit Wi-Fi performance with the dual-optimised antenna
- Slim and stylish outlook aesthetics blends into environments
- Streamlined deployment tools save valuable time
- Zyxel One Network experience
- Optimised wireless experience with advanced feature settings
How Has Zyxel Nebulaflex Helped In The Real World?
Zyxel NebulaFlex has been helping businesses all over the world to increase their WiFi reliability and coverage. Here’s a look into how Zyxel has been helping businesses.
The Salutation Hotel
The Salutation Hotel is a boutique hotel in the medieval town of Sandwich, Kent. The hotel is housed in a Grade I Listed building set in beautiful, award-winning grounds. Keen-eyed readers might recognise the house from Channel 4’s Goggle Box.
The building is a gorgeous Queen-Anne style building built-in 1911. When the house began its transformation into a hotel in 2017, the owners needed to keep the elegance and style of the original building.
However, when it came to setting up a WiFi network suitable of a luxury country home, one thing became apparent.
It really wasn’t built for wires.
The walls were up to 1 metre thick in some places, meaning WiFi signals could not penetrate the walls. What’s more, the Grade I listed status meant that modern technology could not be on display.
The Salutation Hotel enlisted Zyxel and installers The Ardent Group to fix their WiFi problems.
A managed Gigabit Ethernet switch has been installed in the main building. This is supported by Power over Ethernet switches and 20 Nebula Access points, which were deployed though every guest room and public space.
Each building has it’s own Zyxel VSDL router, which allows for an internet breakout.
The Benefits of Zyxel NebulaFlex
The Salutation Hotel now has a fully scalable network. The network can grow with the hotel so that new areas could be opened in the future, such as a new bar in the gardens.
Network issues could be handled quickly and monitored by staff and any external IT companies that work with them. With Zero-touch deployment and management, most fixes and upgrades can be done remotely.
An additional benefit was the staff network. Previously, telephone signals struggled to reach the hotel, and through the thick walls. Staff now use internet messaging and calls on mobiles to interact with each other across the 3.7 acres of land.
The Yasmin Bodrum Resort
On the coast of Mugla Province, Turkey lives the Yasmin Bodrum Resort, a stylish hotel complex with over 108,000 square metres of floor space.
With 152 rooms and six meeting rooms, getting complete coverage was proving tricky. Signal strength was poor. Speeds were slow. There were no separate guest and staff WiFi networks.
The hotel needed a complete overhaul of both wired and wireless network.
The Yasmin Bodrum called installers Arma Bilişim and worked with Zyxel to design a complete network from scratch.
At the core of the network is a Zyxel Layer 3 switch, which feeds into several Layer 2 switches from the GS1900 range. These provide a fast wired structure, with QoS control and traffic management.
These switches allow the connection of access points, IP cameras and VoIP Telephony.
The Yasmin Bodrum hotel deployed 86 NWA1123-AC series access points across the building. They can be managed centrally through the Nebula Control Centre, which can be accessed remotely or monitored onsite. IT staff can control the bandwidth allocations and access privileges of different user groups in a few clicks.
The Yasmin Bodrum Resort now has a much faster network, keeping guests happy as they move around the resort.
Also, staff now have a secure network to use. This helps keep private machines and documents out of reach of the guests on the network.
Internet for your hotel is no longer a luxury. It’s just as much a necessity as sheets on the bed. Increasing WiFi opportunities can help improve your hotel’s profits, attract guests and avoid negative reviews. Cloud networking gives your hotel the perfect amount of control over your network.
If you are interested in NebulaFlex for your Hotel, call our team for free 0800 488 0000.