Staying connected in a foreign country can be a major challenge. Even with the growth of overseas data packages, visitors are often left to their own devices when they step outside their hotel. That’s why consistent guest connectivity is so vital to the modern travel experience.

With the huge strides we’ve made in wireless connectivity in the past decade, there has come a deficit in services. While connectivity is a given in our home countries, it’s a different story when we go abroad. Foreign visitors often find that getting online is more costly than they planned, a revelation which can cast a pall over even the best made holiday plans.

Connect to share

With advances in data-roaming, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be connected at all times. This is especially true when visiting a new city with so many photo opportunities begging to be uploaded in real-time. Of course, there are still areas of the world without any data coverage, but the middle of a city shouldn’t be one of them.

For those with limited memory on their device, new pics have to be uploaded to the Cloud when they’re taken, and that’s where data coverage is essential.

For visitors that want to split into separate groups to explore, finding their way back to each other without any connection can be an ordeal, especially in a new city. Data enables guests to stay connected wherever they are, which means more time to explore and less time wandering.

Girls using hotel smartphone to take a selfie

Extra security = extra freedom

By maintaining consistent guest connectivity, hotels can ensure their safe passage around a new environment and give guests the freedom to explore beyond the usual tourist traps while staying safe.

Should the worst happen and a guest’s device is stolen, the data connection can act as a locator tool to identify where it is, and hopefully, help the police locate it and return it to the owner. A device without data and with no GPS enabled, meanwhile, is essentially lost to the world.

Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people out there, and tourists can make easy targets. By ensuring they always have a direct line to the hotel, guests can check any questionable deals before parting with their hard-earned cash. In this way, hotels can ensure a scam-free holiday experience and build brand loyalty in the process.

Travelling girl using hotel smartphone with 4G data

Data means discovery

There are some that decry the growing use of smartphones abroad, arguing it’s a distraction from the many wonderful new experiences around you. It’s true, spending your entire holiday with your face glued to a screen is no way to experience a country. However, having a consistent connection and, by extension, access to a range of apps, can improve your holiday experience immeasurably.

With unlimited data, guests can roam an entire city using a reliable and accurate navigation app. They can visit the city’s best attractions, enjoy meals at the hottest restaurants and even discover hidden cultural gems off the beaten track.

Data can actually provide a lifeline to the urban explorer, giving them a means through which to discover beyond the impersonal group tours and whistle-stop open top bus experience. With Genie devices, hotels can provide unlimited data to guests and provide remote suggestions on the best venues in the local area.

Using a tablet with data abroad to find restaurants

Mobile data in hospitality

Going abroad comes with its own set of obstacles, and that’s before you even arrive. Checking the house is secure, cancelling the paper, arriving at the airport with enough time and ensuring everyone travelling has the right documentation; all of these add complications to a supposedly stress-free holiday. When guests arrive at their destination, alleviating any further stress should be a hotel’s top priority.

However, one element often goes overlooked. Staying in touch with friends and family back home without running up a huge phone bill can be a major challenge, not to mention an unnecessary headache for potentially jet-lagged visitors.

That’s why data can mean the difference between a one-time visit and a regular guest. Providing little luxuries like access to social channels makes maintaining connectivity with loved ones markedly easier, something that will not go unnoticed when they’re writing up their post-checkout review.

Man using unlimited calls and texts to call

Apps can enhance the local experience

Above all else, you want your guests to be able to experience the local area safely and in comfort. In other words, you want guests to discover an authentic side to your city. The only way to truly experience a city like a local is to live as they do.

A wander through the local streets, food in the local cafes and engaging with the locals are essential activities, but what can guests do to really get under the skin of a new city? While mobile apps won’t make or break a holiday, they can definitely help guests get acclimated to a new culture.

With translate apps, guests can become more comfortable talking to locals in their native tongue. Apps aimed at promoting local events enable visitors to get beyond the tourist traps and experience a night out like a local. Apps certainly won’t define a holiday, but when used intelligently, they can enhance the experience and give insight into native life.

Using a smartphone with international data to talk with locals

Of course, some would argue data is actually negatively impacting the hospitality industry. They point to free online calls nullifying any need for legacy phone systems, from which hotels often make additional revenue when guests make international calls. They point to the decline in guided tours and in-hotel guidebooks.

But, as they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” Data may make some outdated, money-making features seem redundant, but it also provides new opportunities for the hospitality industry as a whole. Mobile data abroad doesn’t have to be a crutch, it can be a tool to enable a new kind of informed, and more secure, exploration and create a direct line through which hotels can engage with guests. The sooner the industry embraces these opportunities, the sooner everyone will feel the benefits.

Ben Graham

Author Ben Graham

More posts by Ben Graham

Leave a Reply