With free WiFi being a critical decision-making factor for 30% of global travelers, the guarantee of a good connection is more important than ever for your guests. Booking.com partner, CitizenM is known for its technological prowess, and two of its London-based properties were found to have the best WiFi in the city, according to Booking.com reviewers. We spoke to the chain’s COO, Michael Levie, to get his top tips on WiFi.
Blog: Why is WiFi so important for today's guest?
Levie: In today’s world, everything is accessed via smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc and our guest experience focuses heavily on this. Everything we do is intended to make the guest journey as seamless and efficient as possible, from the design of our spaces, to the self-check-in experience, and everything in between. A typical guest of ours travels frequently, often for business, and across different time zones, so it's important that they're able to easily and securely access superfast, efficient WiFi. Our superfast WiFi across the global portfolio is something we pride ourselves in.
Blog: Should hotels and accommodations offer WiFi free of charge or is there a case for paid provision?
Levie: WiFi is something that frequent travelers expect as a given, we don’t see a reason to charge. In the 10 years we have been operating hotels, WiFi has always been free for our guests.
Blog: What are the hotel essentials that rely on WiFi?
Levie: At citizenM, technology is integral to the guest experience. From our self-check-in kiosks to the MoodPad in the rooms which allow our guests to customize and control everything including room temperature, lights, blinds, entertainment, and more, the seamless guest journey wouldn’t be possible without a strong emphasis on tech. Our guest should not be limited due to WiFi bandwidth.
Blog: What's the best way to go about finding a good WiFi provider and what are the key considerations to look out for?
Levie: Consistency is important – at citizenM we have one partner we use for everything related to network and connectivity across our global portfolio. They ensure speed, security, and ease of access across all of the hotels. Another consideration was to find a partner that is trusted, scalable, and has a global footprint like citizenM; brand alignment is key.
Blog: How can any problems with WiFi provision be alleviated?
Levie: Despite connectivity being key, at the end of the day we're human, and we thrive on human connection. Much of citizenM’s signature personality comes from its people. The hotel staff (called ambassadors) are hired first for their positive attitude, and they're trained in all jobs so guests are never told to speak to someone else when they need help. Every ambassador is a receptionist, problem-solver, barista, and bartender, and they offer a friendly face to make the guest experience more pleasant. So, while good WiFi is integral to citizenM’s high level of service, it's the combination of efficient tech and real human touch that makes the brand successful.
- After price and location, 30% of global travelers wanted to know if a property offered free wifi in order to make the best decision on where to stay
- Fast, free and easily accessible wifi is particularly important for guests who travel frequently, often for business, and across different time zones
- When searching for a wifi provider, consistency, speed, security and ease of access are important, along with an ability to scale with growth
- Good tech connectivity should not come at the sacrifice of human connection - the combination is the key to success