TechnologyNavigating WiFi Upgrades Through Today’s Supply Chain Challenges

Navigating WiFi Upgrades Through Today’s Supply Chain Challenges

While there’s still uncertainty in the hospitality industry, there is good news for travel and hospitality overall: travel is surging. Knowing that guests are back to traveling, now is the time to consider upgrades, and first impressions are key.

If aging hardware fails—as it sometimes does—there is no time for hoteliers to wait for replacement equipment. Travelers expect connectivity to be on-demand and with sufficient bandwidth. Regardless of how perfect accommodations and the hotel service may be, if guests can’t get online, it can potentially ruin the experience and damage the hotel’s reputation.

But making upgrades might be easier said than done considering continued supply chain issues, a lingering labor shortage, and strained budgets. Even if hotels can afford the upgrades, there’s a need for inventory. Some vendors are quoting lead times over a year to get key equipment such as wireless access points. The delays are predicted to continue causing problems into 2023 and will, even then, be an ongoing battle to fully resolve all of the global supply chain issues. If equipment is needed now, hoteliers need to know what options are available.

Multi-vendor, CAPEX-only purchasing was acceptable pre-COVID, but in today’s environment where hoteliers must do a lot more with much less at an inflated price, it is far from efficient. Hotels are looking to source networking equipment (such as gateways, wireless access points, controllers, and LAN switches) from a single supplier. In this business model, “single source” means more than just convenience; it means in-stock inventory, flexible pricing, minimized contract management, lower support costs, and a healthier bottom line.

It’s within a one-stop-shop-style option where hoteliers, service providers, and vendors can be efficient. All-for-one and one-for-all service delivery can produce a better customer experience and it can simplify the management and support of a property’s network. A fully integrated suite of tools makes deployment easy and it delivers more flexibility, reliability, and scalability.

Next Steps

There are considerations when working through the research process for making upgrades. As conference season approaches, hoteliers can consider the following approach while having important discussions with potential new partners and vendors:

  • Partner with a hospitality-focused organization that understands the needs of hotels and guests and has a track record of reliability and longevity in the industry.
  • Procure from a single source that has all network equipment on hand, from gateways and access points to controllers and LAN switches.
  • Prepare for unforeseen failures in critical network infrastructure by implementing high-availability architecture, keeping onsite spares, and making sure the supplier or MSP can deliver zero lead time replacement units.
  • Prevent equipment failures from happening in the future by practicing preventative maintenance and working with the supplier to proactively switch out equipment when it is nearing the end of its lifecycle.
  • Protect the connected guest experience and the hotel’s reputation by ensuring sufficient bandwidth throughout the property in guestrooms, meeting rooms, lobbies, patios, pools, restaurants, golf courses, and more.

In addition to a hotel WiFi solution, it’s important to think about the other technology that comes into play. From mobile apps to check-in kiosks, in-room entertainment to casting, and digital voice assistants to other contactless technologies, the network powers the entire experience. Combining these high-bandwidth demands with the usage of IoT and WiFi-enabled devices installed on property (e.g., HVAC monitoring, water temperature monitoring) and upgrading to the latest broadband requirements becomes even more critical.

This is a big investment for the future. As the industry move beyond the pandemic, it’s the new helpful contactless technologies, added efficiencies, staffing aids, and loyalty-focused upgrades that will make those welcome-back impressions memorable. The time is now to build off the increased travel demand and positive industry predictions getting the industry closer to what life was like before 2020.

Linda Kahangi
Linda Kahangi is the Chief Information and Operations Officer (CIOO) at Nomadix Inc., a technology provider in hospitality and multi-tenant industries. In her role, Kahangi ensures the business continues to deliver operational efficiencies, product reliability and security, and customer and partner experiences.

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