Accom Management Guide Spring 2016
NO FREE WIFI MAY EQUAL NO GUESTS
I get asked all the time by accommodation providers why should I invest in wifi technology at my site when mobile phones are coming with more and more monthly data? Why would guests want or need my wifi when they can use their own data?
Mobile phones work on the 3G/4G networks (mobile networks) provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodafone with Telstra having the largest coverage around Australia. Cities tend to have good mobile network infrastructure to cope with the large amount of people that connect to them. Regional areas generally aren’t as lucky, lacking in sufficient infrastructure. What this means is that the mobile networks can get very congested – particularly during peak times such as school holidays. These networks can get so saturated it feels like the tap has been turned off to a trickle, sometimes just a drip!
Guests will always look for free wifi first or any alternative other than having to use their own data, particularly if they are from the Cyber Generation and Generation Y (millennials) as they are called. Cyber Generation and millennials use the internet for directions, GPS, ticketless travel, reviews on where to eat, seeking out local attractions, scheduling services, correspondence, social media, etc. – they are all necessities of their day and a necessity of their stay with you! Skype and Facetime use huge amounts of data and most people, particularly foreign travellers are using these applications to touch base with their loved ones regularly.
Parents are relying on wifi to keep their children entertained with portable devices. Baby boomers are travelling with a minimum of two devices each and most of the Silent Generation (not all!) have a mobile phone but would prefer to use their larger screened pad devices or laptops connected to wifi to communicate whilst away instead of using the smaller screen of their mobile phone.
Guests are requiring some free data and a strong reliable wifi system to connect to, to stay in contact with their lives!
Many of the large mobile data plans come with a lock in contract with a large monthly fee, often too expensive for people to commit to and a foreign traveller is not going to sign up for a 2 year plan on a 3 week holiday!
Accommodation providers need to give their guests what they want – free wifi!
As an accommodation provider you will do whatever it takes to ensure your guests have an enjoyable and comfortable stay with you. Free wifi is an expectation of your guests and it is essential and crucial. A negative expectation is generally followed up with a negative review, the guest not returning to your venue and certainly not recommending your site to their family and friends.
Guests are logging into your wifi within minutes of arriving in their room. It is the first thing I do regardless if I am travelling for business or pleasure, is to set up my laptop and ensure I have a wifi connection and I am online.
As faster broadband internet connections with unlimited monthly data are becoming more available and the pricing more cost effective, it is important as an accommodation provider that you upgrade your internet connection to meet the requirements of your guests. An investment in a faster connection may be all it takes to be able to offer more a larger amount of free data to your guests. Not to mention it will help keep your business up and running with faster connectivity for your office as well as the ability to run Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems saving you money.
Free site assessments for guest wifi are available – book in and find out how your guest wifi can be improved. Stay ahead of your competitors and ensure you are meeting and exceeding the expectations of your guests every stay so they keep coming back to you.
Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet