Wi-Fi is what fuels Millennials to be Millennials. Millennials are now the generation of travelers, with an estimation of being 75% of the workforce by 2025 (US News). The hospitality market is flooded with Millennials that love to travel and stay connected to the rest of the world as they go. Wi-Fi is one of the most important factors on which Millennials base their hotel preferences, Over 75% of Millennials expect to stream video in their hotel rooms. 94% of guests see hotel rooms without Wi-Fi as a deal breaker (4Hoteliers Infographic), and 70.9% of Millennials have stated that Wi-Fi availability affects their hotel choices in one way or another (USAToday). If you are in the hotel industry, you need to know what Millennials expect from your hotel Wi-Fi, and how SD-WAN can help you achieve them.
What Millennials Expect From Your Hotel Wi-Fi
1. Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is provided almost everywhere – retail locations such as restaurants, clothing stores, and grocery stores. Millennials naturally expect the same free Wi-Fi in the hotels in which they stay and it has been proven that they will not stay in hotels that charge any price for Wi-Fi, especially a large price. Enablement of guest access while combining connection types to reduce overall costs allows hotels to deliver free Wi-Fi to guests without excessive overhead costs. With SD-WAN, we all win.
2. Wi-Fi Speed
Millennials require Wi-Fi that allows them to stream movies, conduct research, and interact with social media at a speed that does not stress them out and time travel them to the Dark Ages. A hotel’s goal should be to have Wi-Fi that matches or even surpasses the speed of the Wi-Fi any given Millennial has at home. This is the Wi-Fi speed to which they are accustomed, and Millennials will use their home Wi-Fi networks as a base/reference in which to compare other Wi-Fi networks. Half of Millennials are willing to spend an entire 5% of their annual salaries on high-speed internet (CommScope). SD-WAN allows for more options of connection types, giving hotels many options for Wi-Fi speed. Switching connections is also faster, cheaper, and completely more efficient with SD-WAN.
3. Transferrable Wi-Fi
SD-WAN allows consumers to have a continuous connected experience throughout the entire property. Millennials expect to be able to move around throughout their rooms without interruption or noticeable drop in speed and quality. Even when a Wi-Fi is fast, strong, and has excellent range, there is the very possible danger of this Wi-Fi randomly dropping and giving out. SD-WAN can be customized in a way to hold multiple connections to counter the very real possibility of connection drops by simply switching to the connection that is best for that given moment. Millennials expect to log in to Wi-Fi in their hotel room and continue to stay connected throughout the entire hotel. SD-WAN helps this dream become a reality for Millennials.
4. Wi-Fi Strength
Hotel guests must be able to use multiple bandwidth-consuming devices at the same time. Approximately 85% of Millennials own smartphones (Nielsen), and smartphones are commonly used as a tool to stream movies and videos. At any given moment, a Millennial may be surfing the Internet on his or her smartphone, streaming a movie on his or her laptop, and streaming music on his or her tablet. This is the environment a typical Millennial may need in order to survive, and hotels must provide Millennials the tools to thrive in their natural habitats.
5. Wi-Fi security
Many Millennials keep their entire lives in their devices – personal information, accounts, passwords, ideas, and plans. Millennials expect hotel Wi-Fi security to be strong and secure since they connect to the same general Internet as hundreds of others in the same hotel. A breach into a Millennial’s phone is a breach into a Millennials entire existence. Security is one of the most important things Millennials expect from your Wi-Fi, even though it is not discussed as much as the other factors. With SD-WAN, data is encrypted and very secure.
6. Wi-Fi Password Simplicity
Having to type in a complicated password that has the personal relevancy equivalent to a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or a banana’s bar code is tedious and stressful. Having a simple password that relates to the hotel brand or services is the ideal password. A smart hotel business will take this password choice as an opportunity to market a service they provide. For example, “TryOurPizza” or “VisitTheGiftShop”. This password is easy to remember, relatively comical to Millennials, and provides free marketing.
7. Wi-Fi-Enabled Hotel Services app
Millennials would love to have a central app that is downloadable and accessible through the Wi-Fi that allows them handle all of their hotel needs in one app. Having the ability to pay for and check on hotel night stays, food options, room services (amenities, shower gel, etc.), hotel restaurant reservations, hotel gift shop options, and many other services all in one organized app would lead to increased brand loyalty.
8. Wi-Fi-Enabled Free Services Access
A hotel can truly separate itself from its competitors if it provides free accounts and access to many online services that Millennials love and use on a daily basis – Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, NY Times. Having free, complimentary access to streaming services, digital newspaper and magazine services, and gaming services through one’s tablet, phone, or laptop would also increase brand loyalty with Millennials. With SD-WAN, bandwidth requirements to support the Millennial streaming won’t suffer. Noteworthy, Millennials should only be able to access these services by connecting to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, so that they may not abuse this accommodation. Millennials are crafty.
Providing Superior Wi-Fi Service Through SD-WAN
SD-WAN allows hotels to provide all of these services to enhance guest satisfaction without sacrificing employee productivity. By streamlining network processes, you can increase security and bandwidth, while also reducing costs across the board. All of these features are things Millennials actively look for and expect in hotel Wi-Fi.