The hotel broadband market continues to heat up as deployments and revenues climb substantially in 2004, reports In-Stat/MDR (http://www.instat.com). The high-tech market research firm finds that, while the concept of hotel broadband had a rocky beginning, the market has since stabilized, and hotels, guests, and providers alike are embracing the idea. Total properties deployed will grow from 5,207 in 2003 to 26,828 in 2008.
“Hotel broadband has come a long way since the concept emerged over five years ago,” says Amy Cravens, a Senior Analyst with In-Stat/MDR.
“From the level of interest hotels and guests expressed for the service to the methods and means that the service is deployed and managed, very little about hotel broadband has remained the same.” Despite a seeming collapse of hotel broadband in 2001, as of mid-year 2004, a fury of deployment activity is occurring, as hotels across the board, from the small "no-frills" properties to the large luxury resorts, are viewing broadband as a "must have". Cravens says “The primary driving factor is guest demand for broadband service and hotels see broadband now as an essential element of the guestroom, along with a bed, telephone, and TV, there must be broadband access.” In addition, In-Stat/MDR notes a variety of other factors that have impacted the ability of the hotel broadband market to expand, including exposure, flexibility in the overall business model, expanded coverage, and new applications.
According to In-Stat/MDR, there are several principal trends currently taking place in this market:
On the technology front, the most significant trend is the use of wireless LAN (WLAN). WLAN became mainstream in hotels last year, but as a public area and meeting room solution. This year, WLAN is being pushed to the guestroom.
On the business model and perception of broadband front, hotels are trying to determine how to make broadband pay, and in doing so are evolving in their thinking about broadband, moving from a focus on the network and getting a solution in place to a broader perception about how that network can be used.