As hotels continue to wrestle with how best to deliver high-speed Internet access, the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre has found itself with a winning formula. In a recent survey of guests using the hotel’s wireless HSIA, wireless availability ranked high among business travelers and was indicated as a factor in choosing their hotel.
“We are in a business where convenience and service are paramount,” said Joe Palmieri, the hotel’s general manager. “Providing not only high-speed access, but convenience in connecting wirelessly, positions the hotel as proactive in staying ahead of our guests’ needs. We know that satisfied customers are repeat customers.”
This winter the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre installed wireless HSIA with the help of Atlanta based StayOnline, the nation’s leading provider of 100% wireless solutions for the hospitality industry. In addition to its conference space, three restaurants and all public areas, the Hilton’s 500 guest rooms are also wirelessly enabled.
“There continues to be debate on whether or not individual guest rooms really need wireless access,” said Antonio DiMilia, President of StayOnline. “The desk within the room is always near a phone connection. But business travelers equipped with wireless laptops don’t enjoy being tethered by wires, even within the confines of a hotel room. It is matter of convenience, and that is an important issue with many business travelers.”
The Hilton hotel reports that demand for wireless has exploded since the installation. Two thirds of guests responding to a recent survey at the hotel said that the availability of wireless influenced their decision to stay there and would influence their decision to return. Sandeep Pal, a guest who has used the StayOnline system at the hotel, echoes DiMilia.
“The service provides busy hotel guests the “freedom to work from anywhere - such as the lobby or your bed - without being tethered to a wall or (sic) phone outlet,” Pal said.
StayOnline’s customer hotels decide whether or not to charge guests directly for wireless access to the Internet. In the case of the Hilton Lincoln Centre, guests pay $9.95 per day for unlimited 24-hour access.
“At this point, we feel that the guest expects a reasonable charge and is certainly willing to pay it, given that we offer them a secure, speedy connection,” said Palmieri. “And often, if they are traveling on business, the fee is reimbursed by their company.”
For those guests whose laptops are not wirelessly enabled, the hotel offers StayOnline’s EZAir, a simple Plug ‘n Play device that connects their computer to the network seamlessly. Travelers who have the very latest 80211 Centrino? chipset from Intel can rest assured that the network is fully compatible with their computer. StayOnline’s hospitality solutions are verified by Intel Corporation’s Wireless Verification Program (WVP).
“Many of the new laptops on the market today offer this latest edition of mobile technology which brings business users and consumers greater freedom to connect in new places and in new ways faster and more securely than ever before,” adds DiMilia, “StayOnline has continuously stayed ahead of the curve as technology advances. It is a win-win situation all around, for both our customers and their customers.’”
The Hilton Lincoln Centre has had StayOnline’s service installed for a little under three months, but is already seeing a strong ROI. So far, the hotel has logged an average of 600 guests per month using the service, with the numbers increasing slightly each month.