The internet has revolutionized life in the UK. Almost 40 million adults use it at least once a day, and the figure is growing quickly.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is the big move towards on-the-go connectivity.
Mobile and wireless technologies allow us stay connected at all times, wherever our days take us.
Nearly three quarters (74%) of adults accessed the web away from home in 2015, with the proportion rising to 96% among 16-24-year-olds.
It’s clear, then, that connectivity – and more specifically, WiFi, is no longer a luxury.
This is something people expect to find as they go about their business, and the hotel industry more than any other knows that.
A Major Deciding Factor
Gone are the days when breakfast, parking and leisure facilities were a hotel’s biggest selling points.
Now, the availability of free WiFi ranks above all of these for business and leisure travelers when it comes to choosing a suitable bed for the night.
A 2015 study by Hotels.com found that 49% of business travelers consider connectivity a deciding factor when choosing where to stay, compared with 14% who think about complimentary breakfast and the 11% who contemplate location.
As for leisure customers, one in four prioritize free WiFi, while 22 per cent go for breakfast and 15% look for free parking.
The Premier Inn Story
It’s this increasing importance of WiFi in the hotel sector that led Luton-based chain Premier Inn to partner with Arqiva – the UK’s leading communications infrastructure and media services provider.
Identifying Premier Inn’s Needs
The project began, as most do, with Arqiva setting out to identify Premier Inn’s needs.
The hotel giant operates more than 50,000 rooms across the UK, and wanted to provide full WiFi support for a large portion of its 700-plus sites.
The connectivity would assist both guests and operational staff, with the former benefiting from an improved experience and the latter able to increase efficiency and productivity.
However, the installation had to happen quickly and quietly, with downtime not an option for the always-busy hospitality company.
How it Was Achieved
With the challenges identified, Arqiva set to work.
Instead of relying on one single system, it developed a hybrid solution comprising both restricted free-of-charge access and unlimited chargeable access for hotel guests.
The project was carried out from start to finish by a dedicated team, who worked rapidly to install the necessary infrastructure in 300 Premier Inn hotel sites. This provided the instant connectivity required.
With strong Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place, Premier Inn was able to relax knowing the service it was investing in would meet all expectations.
As part of this Arqiva’s service extended beyond the initial installation to include proactive network monitoring.
To this day, the solutions used by hotel guests are kept in tip-top shape by Arqiva’s expert engineers, with support available around the clock.
The return on investment
The project, once completed, gave Premier Inn the flexibility it needed to meet customer expectations and improve operations across the business.
What’s more, thanks to Arqiva’s brand-agnostic approach, Premier Inn rightly takes the credit for its new WiFi service with prominent branding.
Technical support, however, is still provided by technical specialists who keep direct contact with both hotel staff and their guests. Everybody wins.
Choose Your Partners Carefully
If a business is to maximize success, it must pick its partners and suppliers carefully.
Premier Inn’s mission to deliver WiFi was no exception, and the reasons it chose to work with Arqiva on such an important project were watertight.
The two organizations were familiar with one another, with Arqiva having been the preferred technology partner of Whitbread (Premier Inn’s parent company) since 2006.
It knew that it could expect the best from the Winchester-based company, just as so many other organizations do.
So, while the first step is to realize the importance of connectivity, the effort can’t stop there.
Choosing the right partner is the next part of the process, and it’s equally crucial.
It’s getting this bit right that has helped Premier Inn to achieve such obvious success.