Written by: Beth Hamilton, Product & Marketing Manager
WiFi in your Vacation or Short Term Rental should be treated differently than the WiFi you use at home. It’s important to have a user friendly and secure experience for your guests – and passwords with complex numbers and characters doesn’t scream easy to use. Similar to how many organizations are moving to smart door locks and away from physical keys for security and ease of use, you should consider doing the same with your WiFi .
Here we summarize the WiFi Best Practices that we share with all of our Managed WiFi customers in the Vacation and Short Term rental industries.
- Do not leave your modem in an accessible location for guests. I recently stayed in a rental unit that had the modem fully accessible. If I were having any in-unit WiFi issues, I could easily reset the modem and terminate any settings or passwords created for that unit, therefore causing more issues which will no doubt end in more frustration. Placing the modem in an inaccessible location ensures that guests cannot tamper with the device and cause issues with the connectivity.
- Customize your network. Your network SSID, which appears in the list of WiFi networks on WiFi enabled device, should not be a series of 20+ characters that comes with your Internet modem. It should be customized for your brand, the unit, or whatever other criteria you may require. Guests need to know that they’re connecting to your guest network and not some stranger’s network set-up to phish for their details. Do a sweep and check these periodically – scammers have been known to create their own networks modelled after yours for malicious purposes.
- Avoid passwords. Having a password protected network in a hospitality situation is outdated and typically results in confused guests. What if the booker forgets to share the password with the other guests? Or loses the email with the details? It is a struggle that typically results in complaints and guest calls – which results in your team spending time (and therefore money) dealing with guest questions. Instead, include an authentication page, similar to the one we provided below. No passwords are required and as an added bonus, you collect guest data to re-market to them at a later date. If you require added security, requiring the guest to enter last name and room number (matched to your PMS) is a common practice in the hospitality industry – and two details you would expect most guests to remember.
- Use commercial hardware. When running a business, you should be operating business quality hardware; you wouldn’t run a restaurant from your home kitchen – you’d use commercial grade kitchen equipment. Commercial grade access points provide a business quality WiFi service, and typically offer features that residential hardware does not (coverage, security, outdoor weatherproof options, etc). Avoid using multiple gadgets (like WiFi extenders and meshing products) to try and make your guest network work – these only diminish the quality of your network and therefore result in upset guests (and lost revenue). We work with a multitude of access point vendors that offer different price points and varying features to ensure that you are getting the service that your guests expect.
- Separate your guest and administrative network. For this, it’s best to bring in an expert to ensure that your networks are separate and secure. Operating your IoT (Internet of Things) and smart technologies on a guest network is a security hacking risk and could have a significant impact on your business operations. Keep your door locks, noise sensors and smart thermostats separate from your guest network to ensure those items continue operating and aren’t being tampered with.
- Do not underestimate the power of an expert. Do not underestimate the power of an expert in WiFi, particularly if you’re working with large buildings or many units in a building. Building materials (like steel and concrete) can have significant impacts on your network coverage, which may result in a complex plan to ensure even WiFi coverage distribution to maintain happy guests. Our CWNA certified team members complete a site survey for every Vacation and Short Term rental building either on site or using building plans to ensure that you have the best coverage plan for your building and your goals.
WiFi has become an amenity that guests have come to expect; and if they aren’t connected quickly and easily, you can bet that you will hear about it. Ensuring that you have a business quality WiFi experience is crucial to your growth and success of your vacation/short term rental brand – and following these best practices will help you get there. Contact us today to discuss how we will assist you in implementing a premium WiFi experience.