How to judge Wi-Fi quality?
The Grim Reality of Most Hotel WiFi – It Ain’t Pretty.
Meetings took me to the heart of Midtown in New York City this week. I checked my hotel out online before I left, and travel review sites showed high ratings.
I wanted to be able to work in the room, so a desk and chair are important to me, as is good WiFi.
The website proudly featured WiFi as one of their top-three features offered, “above the fold” on their homepage…
And the room details page showed that the WiFi was no extra charge.
I was confident in my choice of lodging.
I checked in on a Sunday. The hotel itself is fine: great location, moderate rates, clean rooms – all the things you look for in a hotel. Except for the WiFi.
Let’s discuss the WiFi.
I like to work in my hotel room when I’m not in meetings. Plus I work days/nights/weekends so 24/7 availability is important to me.
I checked in, went to my room, sat down at the desk, pulled out my laptop and I tried to connect to the Internet.
The login screen was simple enough: first name, last name, and agree to their terms. It allows me to log in on that device for 24 hours. I’m here for 6 nights. Every. Single. Day. I have to reset the WiFi and register. For every device (I have a tablet, laptop, smartphone – and I even brought my Amazon Echo Alexa Speaker with me).
Well, that’s kind of a pain.
And there’s no way for me to authorize a third party to use the WiFi on the Alexa. I was able to the first day and after that, it “defaults” to a thank you screen in the app without the ability to go back and log in again. Ugh.
So while I am working or relaxing, I’ll have to rely on my tiny smartphone speaker for music.
But that’s not the worst part. Even when all my devices are/were properly registered and showed they were connected…the response time to load anything is ridiculously slow. How slow?
Data Rate Reality
I ran a speed test.
The results speak for themselves:
I love how they say “Web browsing should work…” because I can tell you, unless you click the link and go make a sandwich or take a shower while the page loads, you are going to watch a spinning circle for a long time. Seriously, I had better data rates in 1999 when I got my first DSL connection. This is not acceptable. Playing a video? Updating a website? Even posting a graphic to social media? Good luck, my friend.
So on Monday morning I reserved a workspace and walked a few blocks to a co-working space (thank you, WeWork). I sat in a nice, private, air-conditioned table by all by myself and ran the same speed test:
- Download speed is 220x faster.
- Upload speed is 390x faster.
- Latency is 34x better.
Granted, this is a business office environment. But at this office, there were dozens if not hundreds of people working (graphics, video, streaming, Skype calls – heavy users!) on 5 floors of a NYC high rise. A 600-room modern hotel can’t give me the convenience of WiFi that works? This is 2019. Internet data rates should meet if not exceed our demands. We have over 100Mbps to almost every home in the US, and we expect the same “service” wherever we go just as we expect water to come out of the showerhead in the bathroom.
Now, I won’t reveal the hotel name – that’s not what this story is about. I just wanted to accurately reflect the universal average guest experience on hotel WiFi. This is by no means unique. We see it and hear about it every single day from our customers.
While everything else is ok with this hotel, I don’t know that I will be returning. Simply put, I cannot work here without using my phone as a hotspot and draining my data plan. Or without paying for office space that I can only use 9-5 (which saved me this time – no disrespect meant at all).
The Moment of Truth About WiFi Guest Experience
Take an honest look at your guest experience. Go to a room (preferably further away from the router), connect to the WiFi and run a speed test. Then ask yourself if you could work in that environment, for days on end.
Run a speed test at your front desk on the same WiFi your staff uses. How did it do? Was there a delay in checking someone in because the system is slow? Ask your restaurants if their POS can keep up with orders or if the servers have to wait for it to catch up. Go to the pool and see how the connection is out there. Or on the rooftop bar. Or in the fitness center in the basement.
Reliable, dependable, fast WiFi is a staple in a hotel guest’s experience. If they notice it’s slow or drops all the time or are annoyed by the login procedure, those inconveniences are mentally noted. If they don’t notice because fast WiFi is such a part of life, that’s the best scenario.
Concerned your WiFi isn’t up to the expectations of your guests? Contact us today for a free consult and analysis.