Scaling demand for location-based services and personalized guest messaging is forcing hotel owners and operators to rethink the strength and reliability of their wireless networks. To compete effectively and support guests’ mobile devices and a property’s IoT devices, hoteliers must upgrade their network infrastructure. This is not only table stakes by which guests, conference attendees, and other visitors choose one hotel over another, but it dictates whether or not guests will return.

Maintaining one’s wireless network does not come without challenges. Hoteliers are continually looking for ways to troubleshoot, monitor, and proactively anticipate network outages, equipment failures, and performance degradation. Believe it or not, the solution lies in existing technologies – namely in-room tablets with AI at the core.

Imagine that a hotel just installed a new, state-of-the-art wireless network. The investment was costly, but management is confident that guests will be more than pleased with WiFi performance. Just days into the roll out, guests begin complaining that WiFi signal strength is lacking in some rooms.

Checking each room to identify the problem is an option, but for hotels still operating with reduced staff, this labor-intensive method can lead to further guest dissatisfaction. However, if a hotel is installed with in-room tablets, it is possible to read the wireless signal strength that is available in every room and to present a dashboard that shows the health of the wireless network.

We all know that WiFi can change from day to day. Coverage on day one can be fantastic, but then something impacts it on day two or three. Unfortunately, WiFi vendors aren’t always able to detect the cause of the problem in real time. For business travelers, families visiting with kids, or meeting planners for whom WiFi is critical, they really don’t care why it’s not working. They just won’t come back.

Thankfully AI-powered in-room tablets are being deployed today with WiFi detection built in to identify in real time just how healthy the WiFi is in each room. No other guestroom technologies have the capability to provide the level of proactive AI monitoring that can be accomplished with an in-room tablet. Hotel operators receive an independent assessment of the wireless health of their network on request, and it is offered as an incremental benefit — at no cost.

Use This WiFi Checklist

When shopping for an in-room tablet solution at the upcoming HITEC show in Charlotte, N.C. in June, look for one that provides WiFi troubleshooting, detection, monitoring and reporting PLUS:

  • an AI-powered voice concierge
  • integration to the hotel’s property-management system that enables housekeepers or room supervisors to speak or type room status updates or create/close work orders
  • the ability to replace in-room electronics such as TV applications, voice assistants, alarm clocks and bedside phones
  • room controls for turning on/off lights, up/down room temperature, open/closes drapes, activates Do Not Disturb/Make Up Room notifications and more
  • a digital ordering platform that brings food and beverages to guests from local restaurants
  • the ability to replace printed compendiums and QR code table tents and mirror stickers promoting marketing messages and digital tipping.

In-room tablets have been around for a long time, but AI-powered solutions are quickly proving to deliver a rapid return on investment. Those looking to update their wireless networks in 2024 should simultaneously look for a tablet provider that can help support WiFi and other technology investments.

Neil Schubert, Chief Product Officer, Hotel Communication Network (HCN)