These days technology has become a significant asset for every vacation rental. While, as a host, technology doesn’t necessarily have to be your favorite topic, you know it matters, especially when you think about WiFi. This is particularly true if you ever had guests that are digital nomads, since being able to connect to the Internet is their livelihood. If you are caught unprepared, Wi-Fi issues can lead to bad reviews, waste of time and even potential refund to the guests.
In this guide we will explore the top 4 reasons why the WiFi at your vacation rental might not work properly.
1. The router is not installed in the right place.
Since you already work in the hospitality industry, this might sound familiar to you: “Location, location, location!”. Just as a vacation rental located in a premiere spot is more valuable because it’s easier to access, so does the WiFi router. This is especially true when your vacation rental is a property with many rooms or more than one story. There are multiple rooms in a property where the router can be installed, but not all are the same. If it’s not installed in a central area of the house, the signal might be weak in the further rooms.
2. You are using an old hardware.
Using old Wi-Fi hardware can lead to internet issues because as technology advances, new standards and protocols are developed that provide faster speeds, better security, and improved performance. If your Wi-Fi router is older than 3 years there is a high chance that you are stuck with old Generations of Wi-Fi. It would be like like still using an iPhone 6 in 2023. Older Wi-Fi hardware may not be able to support these new standards and protocols, which can result in slow speeds, limited range, weak signals, and increased security vulnerabilities. Additionally, over time, Wi-Fi hardware may simply wear out or become obsolete, making it less effective and more prone to issues. To ensure a reliable and high-performing internet connection, it’s often a good idea to upgrade to a newer Wi-Fi hardware periodically.
3. Your wifi setup is not optimized based on all other existing wifi.
Wi-Fi networks operate on specific channels, and if multiple networks are using the same channel, it can cause interference. The choice of channel can impact the performance of your network. For example, a congested channel with a lot of interference can lead to slower speeds and weak signals, while a less congested channel can result in improved performance. For this reason it’s important to constantly ensure your WiFi is not using a crowded channel. You can download a free sofware like WiFi Explorer for Mac or WiFi Analyzer for PC.
4. Your WiFi password is not secured.
If a WiFi network isn’t secured by a strong password with strong security encryption, anyone tech savvy can potentially join it. Let’s assume that your vacation rental is located in an apartment complex with dozens of units. Everyone who is in close proximity (neighbors, neighbors’ guests, even strangers on the sidewalk next to your window) could join your WiFi network. That would make your guest experience slower and risky, because someone can even steal the guest’s data. If an unauthorized person uses your Wi-Fi network to engage in illegal activities,like cybercrimes or downloading copyrighted material, you could be held liable.
How to make sure that WiFi works at your vacation rental
Instead of automating the WiFi experience, an alternative could be to have you taking care of it manually. There are several tools that you can use to manually ensure that the WiFi is working properly. For example, you can perform an Internet Speed Test to check the status of your connection. To avoid unexpected surprises, you should do that at least once on the day when your new guests check in. However, best practice recommends doing that on a daily basis, some routers like eero.com offer this service as part of the router app.
Furthermore, educating yourself on WiFi Generations, Encryption Method, Speedtest, Channel Management, DNS and Cabling Type might be helpful when you try to troubleshoot Wi-Fi issues. With so many variables involed when Wi-Fi isn’t working it’s important to work by exclusion to isolate the root cause of the issue. Unfortunately a simple router reboot just doesn’t cut it all the time!
When you are a vacation rental host, we understand that you have only time to focus on certain features of your property. You can certainly include WiFi in your list, but you likely have bigger fishes to fry. Automating the WiFi experience of your guests is a way for you to focus on what you really care about within your property. A company like CleverFi, for example, offers a package where the WiFi network is secured by a password that automatically changes every time you have a new guest in your property to ensure your guest can use secure and reliable WiFi during their stay.
Last but not least, having the customer support phone number of your Internet provider in your smartphone contacts would also be a smart move.
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Founder, Cleverfi, Guest Blogger
Mario Soave is an IT Manager with 25 years of international C-Level experience. A WiFi expert, he has installed WiFi at a number of events including the New York Fashion Week. Mario has been a short term rental host in New York City since 2008 and an Airbnb SuperHost since 2012. In 2020 he founded CleverFi in Austin,TX.