du chief commercial officer Fahad AlHassawi on the importance of not cutting back on connectivity
In a few short decades, the world has progressed to a point where we are so digitally connected that we have everything at our fingertips; so much so, that we can even access internet on commercial flights.
According to a survey by Forrester Research in 2015, 90 per cent of travellers list Wi-Fi access as their top sought amenity when choosing a hotel.
As the integration of internet resources with our daily lives has grown, consumers expect access to all aspects of their lives, including reading on tablets or listening to music whilst relaxing. And Wi-Fi is the key enabler nowadays to access the internet.
With the evolution of smart devices, especially smartphones, hotel guests are often carrying up to the three devices and high hotel occupancies often leads to a network outage and service disruption.
Guests increasingly expect and demand to have high speed internet access made possible by having powerful routers, not only in their rooms, but across entire hotels, without disruption.
Customers say Wi-Fi is as important as food and almost as important as location – hotels can no longer ignore the importance of offering a high-speed service. However, the value of providing Wi-Fi extends beyond it becoming a revenue generator through securing higher bookings, but it also creates a better environment to allow for free marketing of your establishment.
With smartphone penetration growing exponentially, and forecasted to reach 430 million by 2021 in the MENA region, we have access to social media quite literally in the palm of our hands.
This gives hotel guests the opportunity to share their good experiences or leave comments about their stay on either their own channels or yours.
Furthermore, providing Wi-Fi to guests gives hoteliers an increased opportunity to tailor their own marketing messages to their guests, to encourage return visits.
As users connect to hotel Wi-Fi, a significant amount of actionable data is captured – country, occupation, interests, travel habits, and a lot more. This can enable marketing teams to target specific groups with relevant offers.
Better knowledge of your guests, their habits online and their internet usage means that hotel owners can leverage on marketing automation systems which can monitor behavior online and provide access to tailored messaging or offers – even driving users directly to your booking system, which means a cut in spending on hotel price comparison platforms.
The benefit of offering free Wi-Fi in hospitality establishments is that it offers twofold benefits, for both the hotelier and the hotel customer.
Not only does the customer experience improve as they have access to everything they require at the touch of a button, but the use of the internet improves opportunities for hotels to gather important information about preferences of visitors and thereby improve their product and service offering.
As we look towards Expo 2020, when an unmatched number of tourists will be visiting the UAE, hotels need to think about how they can harness services and tools to raise their establishment to the global eyeballs of potential customers.
Managed services within the UAE for technology such as Wi-Fi are available and offer round-the-clock support and secure usage of data to ensure establishments are working within the boundaries of the UAE authorities.
Once safe in the knowledge they are offering an increasingly important service to valued customers, within the boundaries of the law – hoteliers can focus on what they do best: Giving tourists or business travellers the best possible in-house experience of their establishment.