What do you REALLY do at luxury hotels?

Yeah, you sit out in the sun, you rest, maybe you have a spa day. But let’s be honest here. Chances are the one thing you don’t do is unplug. You check your email, you play games on your phone, and you watch TV. In fact, I don’t know about you but I watch more live TV in hotels than probably anywhere else. It sounds weird but when you get back to the room, most of your stuff isn’t there, and what you want to do is just unwind. So you check out what’s on “the tube.” The problem is that there’s a pretty good chance that it might actually be a “tube,” an oldschool TV. If it’s a more modern flat panel, it still might not have HD service on it, and for sure, you probably can’t pause live TV or set things up to record while you’re out playing.

Of course this would be ok if you could watch Netflix or use DISH’s or DIRECTV’s apps, but the free Wi-Fi in hotels is the worst, just the worst. Hotel owners just can’t keep up with demand, and it’s a vicious circle — if the TV doesn’t get upgrade, the Wi-Fi just gets worse because there are more people using it.

So, you bite the bullet, know that you’re going to go over on your data plan, until you realize that the cell service at hotels isn’t that good either. If you’re in a luxury destination, especially a “getaway” destination, chances are you “got away” from good cell coverage too.

And that’s when you sit there watching shows on the Weather Channel in standard definition until you fall asleep. How very 1996 of you.

If you’re reading this and you’re a hotel owner or operator, you’re probably throwing your hands up in the air and you’re about ready to give up. You’ve spent a lot of money in the last 10 years upgrading, but it seems like you just can’t get ahead of demand. You never expected to spend more on internet service than pool service, after all people come to a luxury hotel to get luxuries, right?

The truth is that life in the 21st century just doesn’t wait. This is an on-demand world and hotel guests expect that. The challenge for the hotelier is just to get off that treadmill, stop throwing money at the problem and start thinking about smart solutions. The best way to do that is a two-pronged approach.

First, get to know the DIRECTV Residential Experience. This is a program that DIRECTV has that puts real satellite receivers in guest rooms and still keeps that in-room experience including PMS integration, on demand, and promotes your events with menus and video. It’s the whole package for TV viewing, including tens of thousands of on demand titles, many of them free, without getting your internet clogged. The secret is that the most common on-demand titles download to your property in the middle of the night when no one’s using the internet, and they’re available to every guest without downloading them again. DIRECTV’s Residential Experience is what guests really want… down to the DVR. Each guest gets an 8-hour DVR and the ability to pause live TV. They may not come to your hotel to watch TV, but when they do watch TV, they want to be satisfied. This is the answer. People turn to Netflix and Hulu when there’s nothing on TV… and there’s always something on DIRECTV. So your overtaxed internet lines don’t get clogged.

Prong 2: An industrial quality cell booster system. If guests get good cell service in their rooms then they’re less likely to even try your Wi-Fi. You can give them 5 bars in every room with scalable cell signal boosters. Put one antenna on the roof and boost signal to hundreds of thousands of square feet with systems that work the way you want them to. I’m talking abour real, industrial signal boosters that give you control of where you want that cell boost to be. When your guests can log into Candy Crush’s servers or check Facebook, they’ll be happy.

Does this stuff cost money? Yes, I’ll admit it does. But wait… there are programs available from DIRECTV to defray costs that include special programming deals and free equipment. In some cases all you pay for is installation and a small monthly fee (like single-digit $) per room per month. Really. Cell booster systems cost money up front but have no operating cost other than a little electricity, equivalent to leaving 1 extra light on per cell booster. That’s not a lot, right?

So now if you’re a traveler you want to know where you can go to find a hotel that’s already upgraded. I wish I could help there. What I can do is encourage the hotel owners and operators to call us at Signal Connect, 877.426.7182, and talk to the experts. There are ways to make your hotel high-tech without breaking the bank. That translates to happy customers AND happy owners.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.