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By Sarah Smith

When people think about asset management, they typically contemplate services that maximize returns for owners. If you really want to protect the owner’s investment while delivering a quality product with exceptional service levels, there’s a key component to asset management that you may be overlooking: Establishing a Strong Cellular Infrastructure. If your hotel company is committed to taking care of people, adding value to your brand, enhancing and protecting long-term real estate values and serving the owner’s objectives, one of the very best things you can do is provide a safe and reliable cellular infrastructure.

Dont React. Proactively Build to Technology
Today’s commercial properties are building to technology. If those buildings can’t ensure mobile coverage top to bottom, the architect, builder, and designer are jeopardizing the owner’s asset. Everyone that enters, works or resides in that building uses cellular devices which require a voice or data connection for every function. For this reason alone, a building’s cellular infrastructure needs to work and if it doesn’t, the blame-game begins. Some people point fingers at the network carriers, such as Verizon or AT&T whereas others blame the building materials, such as the concrete or low energy glass, which do block signals from penetrating. Once the walls are up, the roof is on and the doors are open, pointing fingers only gets more costly for the owner. If the people who are designing and managing these commercial assets aren’t planning for these common obstacles during the building phase, retrofitting afterwards is the only alternative, which includes reopening walls and ceilings.

Think Mobile First
There really is no excuse for any new construction hotel project to experience problems with dead zones and dropped calls today. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) enhance a building’s local cellular coverage to ensure that mobile calls, data transactions and communications are conducted quickly and securely. Factor in the growing numbers of mobile devices that travelers are taking with them on the road, and someone needs to take ownership of the underlying network. No one would move into a residential high rise or frequent a shopping plaza if they knew they would not be able to make mobile phone calls, text or access their precious apps.

It’s not uncommon today for large corporations to include cellular coverage in the group-booking request for proposal (RFP) process. Some convention hotels have lost tens of thousands of dollars in business because groups won’t rebook due to the inability of their delegates to continue with their normal work by making and receiving phone calls and answering email communications.  Based on the growing number of complaints from both leisure and business travelers on TripAdvisor alone, can cause lost revenue due to poor reviews.  How much do your negative impressions cost you?

Mobile By Design - Enhance and Protect Your Brand
Take branding into consideration. Many travelers select a particular brand for consistency sake; they like knowing they will receive the same level of service from city to city. The brand’s reputation and the guest’s loyalty are in question when a property in a destination does not have cellular reception available. In the traveler’s mind, they question if will they encounter that same inconvenience while staying at that same flag in another city. Loyalty for that brand should not have to suffer solely due to poor cellular coverage.

As hoteliers continue to plan for the mobile with their loyalty apps, in-room technologies and social efforts, I challenge them to ask how important cellular coverage is to these extensive mobile initiatives. After all, people assume that being able to make and receive cell phone calls is a given as well as providing fast data speeds. Guests will want to ensure they can utilize each property’s mobile offerings with or without having to connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network.

Responsive Customer Service = Strong Cellular Service
The problem of a weak cellular infrastructure is also a problem for staff within sales and marketing, operations, housekeeping and food and beverage. Being able to communicate 24/7/365 with different departments is essential while running a hotel and capitalizing on revenue and efficiencies. As internal mobile functionality is being implemented for staff, it is important they are able to connect to these technologies in a fast, secure and productive way, as this is the sole purpose of these services.  Having connectivity and ensuring portability needs to be properly aligned with not only guest facing technologies, but also with the back of house operations.  

Its a Mobile, Mobile World And Only Growing Faster
Wi-Fi bandwidth is the number one complaint in today’s hospitality market from guests.  It is important as the trend for more mobile devices continues to increase, among guests, staff and in-room that properties are preparing for the future.  By ensuring a strong cellular infrastructure, guests that bring their own devices (BYOD) and want to utilize their data packages that they already pay for will not have to surrender to use free Wi-Fi that is slow and part of an unsecure, public network.  Upgrading Wi-Fi preferences typically costs the guest additional to have faster connection speeds.  Again, the more devices, technologies and users on a single Wi-Fi network, hoteliers will never be able to keep up with the demand unless they start utilizing 4G.

Guests Expect Cellular Service, Period.
Before embarking on any new construction project, it is critical that owners have a conversation with the people responsible for low-voltage cellular network requirements and be proactive in planning ahead so these factors don’t arise in the future. Designing a DAS specific to each building and budgeting for these projects are an important value add to the property, and also ensures that future technologies can be easily adopted. An investment in cellular coverage is an investment sustained growth.  Guests will see high bars in cellular signal strength and hotels will see higher rates of return. Guests expect cellular service, period. A safe and reliable cellular network is critical to maximizing revenues for owners.

About Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is vice president of commercial for RoamBOOST, a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) integrator of both passive and active equipment.  RoamBOOST solves in-building or outdoor cellular coverage problems throughout a property or in targeted areas, such as the public spaces, meeting rooms or basement.  These turn-key services can be utilized for any building type within any industry.  All systems provide both 3G voice and 4G data for all major network carriers.. More information can be found by visiting www.RoamBOOST.com.

Contact: Barb Worcester, PRPro

barbw@prproconsulting.com / Barb Worcester, PRPro

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