By Dave Millett, Equinox
Once they’ve checked location and price, Wifi is the top facility that people look for when booking accommodation. They expect a quality Internet connection so it worth the effort to make sure you have the best possible. And also make sure that you are doing all that you can to maximise bookings, nobody wants empty rooms so make sure that you do all that you can to get them filled.
What happens after a stay at a hotel with unreliable connectivity? And what can you do about this?
If customers cannot work in their room, they probably cannot work in the bar/restaurant either, because it’s on the same connection. They’ll go elsewhere and you lose significant food and beverage revenues.
Reception is likely to get immediate complaints: “I’ve paid £XXX for this room and I can’t even send emails quickly.”
Then there are poor reviews mentioning WiFi on sites such as Trustpilot or Feefo. These are likely to negatively impact bookings and revenue.
WiFi doesn’t have to be expensive
We recently upgraded the internet connection for a hotel that previously had a broadband connection. To pay for this, they needed to increase their occupancy levels by 0.2% or sell two more room bookings over the year.
Cost of calls
Although traditionally calls from hotel room were expensive this no longer needs to be the case.
You want to manage your business investment as carefully as possible. But there are costs incurred and opportunities missed if you leave upgrading telephone systems for too long
Phone systems over 5 years old, and definitely those over 10 years old, lack an upgrade path and have to have inbound lines to receive calls. A recent analysis of a hotel’s calls showed 17,000 inbound calls a month, adding up to £120 a month. Outbound calls, to landlines and mobiles, added up to a similar value. That’s a total cost of £3,000 per annum because the phone system couldn’t be upgraded to use SIP connections, providing free inbound and outbound calls.
Legacy phone systems also lack the ability to offer additional services to guests. Imagine being able to offer free calls to guests. A hotel in a rural location may well have a poor mobile signal, and when you factor in the building structure’s impact on the signal it’s even worse. Free UK calls could be a powerful marketing tool (you may want to charge for international calls).
Being able to offer conference calls in meeting rooms is added value attracting additional bookings.
Usually up to half the cost of a new phone system is for handsets. However, most room handsets can be used when attached to a new PBX so they don’t need replacing. The handset on reception and in the offices may well be replaced to provide additional functionality but that’s a relatively small amount.
Recent projects suggest £15-20K would provide a new phone system for a hotel up to 200 rooms. Just based on the call savings above, the investment is repaid in five years. That is without the additional marketing benefit and revenues that can be generated from guests.
If you haven’t recently reviewed your WiFi, broadband and telephones now’s the time to do it and reap the rewards.
About the Author
Dave Millett has over 35 years’ experience in the Telecoms Industry. He has worked in European Director roles for several global companies. He now runs Equinox, a leading independent brokerage and consultancy firm. He works with many companies, charities and other organisations and has helped them achieve savings of up to 80%. He also regularly advises telecom suppliers on improving their products and propositions. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk
- £300 divided by 80 rooms (sold at £150 per night) and 30 days per month = 0.2%