If you’re thinking about the tools and services that you want to offer at your hotel, then some of the first things that come to mind will likely be the basics – friendly and professional staff, good quality bedding, and teas and coffees in the room. Mobile Signal often gets overlooked.
Mobile Signal should be a priority in higher quality hotels. Business travellers often rely on their mobile phones for both business and personal communications. Landline telephones may still come in handy, but people will turn to that landline in the room as a last resort.
Some of the bigger hotels such as Hilton and Starwood are taking advantage of the ubiquity of cellphone use and offering a keyless, digital check-in option that lets people get into their room via their cellphone app. This means that regular customers can avoid the check-in line completely and just open the hotel app and use that to gain keyless entry to the room.
If you don’t have a good cellular signal in the hotel then using such apps becomes a slightly more frustrating process since the customer will need to log on to the hotel Wi-Fi network to use the app. Once the guest is in the room, they can’t make or receive calls, and they can’t tether to their phones if they want to use their own data and their own connection for more private activities. Let’s not forget that your staff will need a cellular connection for their duties, too.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that having a decent Wi-Fi connection in the hotel is all you need. Wi-Fi is good, but a quality hotel will offer a good cellular signal and a good data signal to ensure that all guests are able to connect in the way that suits them best. Both offerings allow users to access their apps and make calls, but many travellers prefer cellular for convenience and control.
The good news is that hotel owners can improve the signal quality in their hotels by using passive cell phone boosters. These tools are affordable, reliable, and far more cost-effective than the active systems used in some other big venues.
Mobile Signal and Wi-Fi connections are both important, they are not an either-or choice.
Wi-Fi is reliable and can be a good option for a lot of travellers. However, it’s not always the best option for every guest. Usually, to connect to a Wi-Fi service in a hotel, the guest will need to manually connect to the hotspot, then open their browser and accept the terms and conditions to use the Wi-Fi, perhaps filling in some information along the way.
Some people are happy to do this. Many users, especially business users, are reluctant to use public Wi-Fi due to security and privacy concerns. Very few guests will bother to use Wi-Fi calling while in a hotel, preferring to us cellular whenever it is available.
Cellular connections ‘just work’, with zero friction. Most frequent travellers these days have unlimited data plans so it is easy for them to use cellular.
If you’re now convinced to make providing a good mobile signal for your guests a priority for your hotel, then using a passive DAS is a good option and one that will make for a more efficient working environment too.
Let’s take the example of the Chicago Oak Brook Marriott in Illinois. This hotel is quite centrally located, just 18 miles from downtown Chicago. The cellular reception was sub-par, however, especially in some of the lower floors of the hotel.
The conference and event rooms were on the first floor and the back-of-house services were in the basement. Poor mobile signal was a huge issue for those floors. Management, quite naturally, were eager to find a solution.
Even as recently as a few years ago, an active DAS might have been the only option. Large-scale infrastructure solutions of that type are popular for arenas and big stadiums, but while active DAS works well, it will boost just one carrier’s signal and it costs a lot of money to implement.
Passive DAS is a better option because it captures the signals from several surrounding cell towers and amplifies them all, then distributes the boosted signal throughout the hotel. This is cheaper to implement and is much easier to get up and running. In addition, since it works for all carriers (a passive DAS is ‘carrier agnostic’), this means that all your guests are happy, whether they use a major carrier or a lesser-known regional one. As long as there is enough of a signal for the DAS to amplify, it should work.
It was easy for the hotel to get the amplifiers up and running, and the improvement in coverage was immediate. They used Konecta USA to install the amplifiers, and they have been a low-maintenance solution, with the hotel never needing to call in again for tech support.
Many other hotels have made similar decisions, opting to get passive DAS systems set up on their premises to improve the cellular signal not just for their guests but also for their staff. The improvement in the quality of service that can come from them is clear.
For hotel managers, delivering the best possible service should always be a priority. Modern guests demand the best in connectivity and that means giving them options. Cell phone signal boosters boost efficiency and can greatly enhance customer service too.