‘Guest wifi summary 2013 – the year it was’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2014


At the beginning of 2013 in the Summer edition, I wrote about guests paying for internet access and it being a ‘thing of the past.’  2013 has seen many accommodation providers move to offering some free guest wifi to their guests and selling additional data for a cost effective fee – this has proven to be very successful and feedback from guests has been very positive.  My research has shown that the bigger players and major chains are still not getting it and want you to be a member or join their club to get the privilege of access to their wifi systems.  Free guest wifi is not a privilege, it is a must have.  Let’s hope that 2014 sees them getting with the times and giving guests what they want.

The article in the Autumn edition about ‘Wifi vs Foxtel, what does your guest want’, stirred up many a debate about the inept internet infrastructure in many areas of Australia and the necessity of the NBN to be able to ditch Foxtel and start streaming movies on demand.  It did get accommodation providers thinking though, which was my main goal and the mention of SmartTV’s is becoming more common in conversations.  The dream of ridding your business of a monthly Foxtel bill is getting closer, although the change of government and their NBN vision may see us have to wait a tad longer before Foxtel is a thing of the past.

Winter came along and so did my article ‘free guest wifi can make your business money’.  90% of our clients are offering an amount of free data per room per day to their guests and offering cost effective data plans the guest can purchase if they require more data.  The sales our customers are making are fantastic and guest feedback has been positive.  No-one wants to be ripped off and what’s the point of charging an over-priced amount for data when you can bring your own Telstra dongle and mortgage your home to cover its cost.  You want your guests to buy your wifi and they will if you get your pricing right.

Accommodation providers are becoming savvier in regards to internet and data technology; however there are many that don’t understand what it all means and my Spring article explained the differences and pros and cons of Internet connectivity, bandwidth and speed and what it all really means to us here in Australia.  Australia is definitely behind when it comes to Internet infrastructure and the NBN (if completed) will be the messiah we have all been waiting for and will open up so many business opportunities and move our country forward.

The demand for free guest wifi grows every holiday period and these Christmas holidays will have seen usage levels like never before.  Once your guests have gone home and you have time to breathe again, there are a few questions you may want to think about:

  • How did your guest wifi system cope?
  • Did you get many complaints about your guest wifi and if so, what were they about?
  • Internet speed?
  • Was the system difficult to access and use?
  • Was it hard to connect as signal strength was poor and there were black spots?
  • Did you have enough data to run your business and offer guest wifi?
  • Should you start considering an unlimited data plan this year?
  • Does your guest wifi system have the flexibility to offer some free wifi and sell more data at the price YOU want?
  • Does your guest wifi system comply with data retention obligations so that if someone does something naughty on your internet connection you can prove it wasn’t you and not be accountable?

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year period and that Santa brings you what you asked for.  My internet envy continues and I’ve asked for fast reliable internet – aka the NBN.  I know Santa can make dreams come true, but I think he will say “you’re dreaming” this time round!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet