Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 08 2014

Find Out How Fast Your Hotel Wi-Fi Is — Before Check-In

By David McMillin

It’s a situation that business travelers know all too well. You arrive at your hotel. You have work that has to be done. You log on to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, and you wait…and wait…and wait even longer.

As more travelers demand easy online access, many of them are expecting reliable and free Wi-Fi at every property. However, free Wi-Fi often translates to “incredibly slow service.” Now, a new site is evaluating just how well the Wi-Fi works at hotels around the world. It’s HotelWiFiTest.com, and like many new online destinations, it relies on crowdsourced information from actual hotel guests.

Here’s how it works. Users visit the site when they check-in to a hotel and run a speed test via the site. Once the results are in, users can easily share them via social media and post comments on the hotel’s social media channels. Once the site collects enough tests from a property, it offers a range of information about the hotel including expected Mbps speed, maximum speed and a confidence score that reflects how many times the hotel has been tested. The listings also include whether Wi-Fi is complimentary or requires an additional charge.

SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons Why Free Wi-Fi Might Not Be The Best Deal

Hoteliers are under increased pressure to provide speedy Internet access. A recent hotels.com survey of more than 1,000 guests revealed that free Wi-Fi is the most important in-room amenity. I won’t be surprised to see major peer-to-peer players such as TripAdvisor and Yelp begin to incorporate a similar type of ranking system to help travelers understand Wi-Fi accessibility.

Is Free Really Fair?

While many travelers believe Wi-Fi should be included in the cost of their rooms, it’s important to remember just how much of a burden bandwidth can be on a property. Travelers aren’t simply checking email anymore. More conference attendees, business travelers and leisure guests are using their devices for bandwidth-intensive operations like streaming video and music. That kind of traffic can easily clog a network. Many hoteliers are working to upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate the next generation of Wi-Fi access, but those upgrades will not be cheap.

SEE ALSO: Never Feel Lost In A Conversation About Wi-Fi Again

Wi-Fi isn’t the only issue impacting the hotel industry today. Click here to learn about five big challenges hoteliers need to address.

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