TL; DR: Reliable wifi service is becoming the most in-demand amenity for hotel guests. Hospitality businesses that can’t afford to update their hardware or find a network solution that meets their scale and usage demands risk losing appeal to new travelers and the satisfaction of current guests. Zyxel engineers affordable, all-in-one, scalable network solutions that are custom-designed to meet a variety of high-traffic hospitality environments and enable streamlined management for property owners and MSPs. For its accomplishments in this specialized industry, Zyxel has earned our Editor’s Choice Award™ for Hospitality Wifi Solutions.
When booking a hotel, today’s travelers aren’t as concerned about free breakfast, access to mass transit, or other amenities as they are about one thing: wifi access. Based on surveys from Hotels.com, 49% of business travelers and at least 25% of leisure travelers place wifi at the top of their list of must-haves.
In the hospitality business, simply having a guest wifi network can attract new patrons, while having reliable, high-speed network access from every corner of the property will keep current guests satisfied — and likely lead to their recommending the destination to others. Free wifi access boosts a hotel’s appeal, but robust capabilities give guests a more satisfactory experience when using their mobile devices, which can benefit the business directly.
“We’re seeing people look into turning their guest access into a source of revenue for the company, such as hotels that offer a basic free service and then charge guests an upgrade for a faster speed that can support streaming,” said David Soares, Vice President of North American Sales for Zyxel.
With public areas, private rooms, and numerous users, hospitality businesses need a wifi solution that can support the demands of multiple guests accessing the web, streaming media, using cloud storage, and messaging on social media platforms. For many businesses, the expense of upgrading hardware to support a stronger wifi network is an obstacle to providing this service for their guests.
“With property owners, that’s a certain level of education we provide — helping them understand that happy guests are guests that are going to return,” David said. “Wifi and the ability to handle streaming is an important thing for many people, especially the younger generation. So it’s key for them to focus on it and put the extra investment into it today to keep their customers happy and coming back.”
Zyxel, founded in 1989, innovates networking hardware and wifi solutions, whether for individual hotels or Managed Service Providers (MSPs), with 600,000 deployments throughout the hospitality industry worldwide.
For creating affordable products that provide robust wifi networks tailored to meet the scale and multi-environmental needs of the hospitality industry, we’ve awarded Zyxel Communications our Editor’s Choice Award™ for Hospitality Wifi Solutions.
A One-Solution System with Affordable Equipment Leasing Options
Even when hospitality businesses understand the importance of providing a robust wireless network that can withstand the demands of multiple users and advanced technologies, the cost of upgrading expensive hardware is still daunting. That financial hurdle can be a setback for not only business owners themselves but also the ISPs that provide wifi for their facilities.
For Resort Internet, an ISP that focuses on providing wifi solutions for the hospitality industry, pricing is an important factor in staying competitive with incumbent cable providers. By switching to Zyxel, Resort Internet found a price-competitive solution that enables it to offer high-quality services that motivate its customers to upgrade while keeping a competitive edge in the market.
“We’re considerably more affordable than Aruba or Meraki, not just in the cost of the hardware, but also because we provide a lifetime warranty, lifetime support, and firmware upgrades at no additional fee,” David said. “A lot of our competitors charge extra for basic management of your devices. That’s one of the areas where we help reduce the total cost of ownership.”
Since many of Resort Internet’s customers can’t afford wireless network hardware, the company usually absorbs the expense of building out their networks. This points to another trend that’s making Zyxel’s solutions even more affordable: Equipment lease agreements. “A trend that we’re seeing is that the MSP providing the network is also providing leasing service on the equipment, so the hotels don’t have to pay for the equipment upfront,” said Shawn Rogers, Zyxel’s Market Development Manager. “So, I think that’s helping hospitality businesses upgrade their networks sooner.”
In addition to affordability, many hotel property owners look for an all-in-one solution that’s easy to implement and manage. Some facilities try to cut costs by working with multiple vendors for their networking equipment, but these vendors often disagree about who is at fault when something goes wrong, which can lead to extended downtime. Zyxel receives positive feedback from hospitality businesses about how its all-in-one system eliminates these problems.
The hospitality solutions delivered through Zyxel value-added resellers include everything a hospitality business needs to get started: Access points, network switches, and a secure commercial gateway. Zyxel’s One Network experience enables new users to easily configure and manage their network.
By eliminating barriers and helping ISPs upgrade their systems sooner rather than later, Zyxel is helping the hospitality industry offer the high-quality wifi connection today’s travelers expect.
Small- or Large-Scale Deployment: A Range of Networking Products to Meet a Variety of Needs
Hospitality businesses range from small cafeterias to sprawling five-star resorts, and their wifi needs are very different, so Zyxel’s solutions are designed to custom-fit many building sizes and types of environments.
For smaller businesses that only need a few access points, Zyxel’s All-in-One Hotspot Gateway provides instant wifi for up to 100 devices, while its Unified Gateways enable larger hotels to support up to 800 devices. Access points also come in a variety of styles suited to lobbies, rooms, hallways, or outside areas.
In larger-scale deployments, like vacation properties and resorts, increased traffic, square footage, and the need for streamlined network management create coverage and quality challenges that Zyxel’s large-venue solutions are prepared to meet.
When Resort Internet switched to Zyxel’s Nebula family of products, it saw the immediate benefits in two of its larger facilities — Treehouse, a 250-unit vacation property, and Castle Pines Golf Club, with 60 cottages and a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse. Treehouse’s size and occupancy required that nearly half its guests use an Ethernet connection, while at Castle Pines, guests complained about poor service whenever the facility hosted large events with over 1,000 attendees.
With Zyxel, Resort Internet was able to support Treehouse’s usage demands entirely on wifi, and, at Castle Pines, the facility now receives compliments on how much better its network performs. Another benefit was in Resort Internet’s operations. Through the Nebula Network Management Solution, the company has visibility of all of its networks via the cloud right from its office.
“We can monitor each access point in real-time,” Bryon Wentzlaff, Director of Business Development, said. “We can reset and restart access points, and from there we can dispatch a technician if a truck roll is needed. From an operating standpoint, this is a huge cost saving because we do not have to dispatch technicians constantly.”
The Nebula system also allows Resort Internet to anticipate problems and be more proactive, which, in turn, leads to less downtime for its hospitality customers.
As it designs custom solutions for the hospitality industry, Zyxel continues to engineer its technology to solve everyday problems. For example, smartphones and tablets aren’t the only personal devices guests use: Bluetooth shares the same bandwidth and can impact speed.
“As soon as you get a second access point, you’re getting co-channel interference, which is what the smart antenna solves. So, it’s not even big deployments – even small deployments are going to see benefits from that,” David said.
Whether small- or large-scale, hospitality businesses can use Zyxel for customized network technology that meets their unique service challenges.
Supporting the Hospitality Industry with Advanced Wifi Solutions
With wifi access so important to travelers, keeping them online and happy is a top priority. From the perspective of ISPs and resellers that provide Zyxel networks for their hospitality customers, having a system that’s easy to manage has encouraged a trend toward more proactive end-user support and prompted many to move into the managed services space.
“In addition to providing the hardware, installing it, and leaving, they’re providing internet service and support,” David said. “When that guest has a bad experience, they reach out directly. Going to a cloud solution like ours makes it easier to troubleshoot those issues.”
Zyxel has extensive support and learning sections on its site to help resellers make this transition. “It’s key for us to educate the channel because we see more and more ISPs and resellers that are interested in becoming MSPs, but they need help with that final step,” David said.
By moving to managed service, Zyxel resellers can improve their income streams while providing better customer support to hospitality businesses. Supporting its resellers is yet another way Zyxel ultimately supports the hospitality industry’s ability to provide high-quality wireless internet service to its customers.
For its robust networking products that are priced competitively and made more accessible to small hospitality venues through reseller lease options, and its solutions that can scale to meet the network demands of large hotels and resorts, Zyxel has earned our Editor’s Choice Award ™ for Hospitality Wifi Solutions.