Small Cell Forum Launches Hospitality Sector Initiative

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Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organisation driving universal cellular coverage, is engaging with the hospitality sector to support the deployment of small cells in order to boost mobile connectivity.

The Forum, whose members include leading operators, silicon vendors and equipment manufacturers, is working directly with hospitality organisations around the world to demonstrate how small cells can cost effectively achieve 5 bar coverage throughout hotels and venues.

Research commissioned by SCF has shown that as many as two thirds of business travellers say they will not return to a hotel or venue with patchy or inadequate wireless access, taking for granted that they can use their cellular devices wherever they go and being frustrated where this is problematic. Small cells offer a robust, secure and cost effective way to provide comprehensive high-speed indoor voice and data coverage that is as easy for venues to install and manage as Wi-Fi.

The Forum’s Enterprise Advisory Council is focused on deepening industry ties, and working alongside businesses to help solve the issue of poor cellular coverage. Marriott International and Grange Hotels have been unveiled as the council’s first hospitality representatives and Membership is open to hotels and hotel chains, convention centres, restaurants, and other entertainment venues, as the Council seeks to work closely with industry leaders to solve the coverage challenges these Enterprises face.

“Bad mobile coverage is an increasing issue for the hospitality industry, with a direct impact on our customer’s satisfaction, and in turn bookings and revenues. Modern new build construction techniques together with increasing coverage issues and customer demand means the situation is only going to get worse,” said Steve Waldron, Financial Controller at Grange Hotels. “Through the Enterprise Advisory Council, the Small Cell Forum is in a unique position to bring the cellular community together with major players in the hospitality industry to work to resolve this issue to the benefit of everyone.”

“With over 1,200,000 rooms in more than 6,200 properties worldwide, offering an exceptional mobile experience to our guests is critical to our success,” said Alex Ajdelsztajn of Marriott International. “We are delighted to be working with the Small Cell Forum and its members to ensure the industry continues to evolve with the customer experience in mind.”

SCF case studies clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of small cells in hospitality settings in facilities around the world including a 1,000 room, 14,000m2 Tokyo hotel. The venue deployed small cells because it wanted to offer consistent, high quality mobile voice and data services with access to location-based services, including indoor navigation around exhibitions. This in turn has helped attract high revenue events in competition with other facilities in the area.

“Many businesses assume they have good mobile experience, because it was fine two years ago, but this is no longer the case. High quality cellular coverage is now a business-critical utility for the hospitality industry; heavy data usage, mobile-first processes, and high user expectations of quality have moved the goalposts,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum. “Good quality coverage is essential for happy customers. It means better business, and the value-added services can make a substantial impact to a venue’s balance sheet.”