Having just returned from a two-week camping holiday in France, I know at first hand that I will never pay for Wi-Fi.
It did not matter how many pained looks my teenage daughter gave me as she fretted about her Snapchat streaks or Instagram updates, I was not going to fork out 20 Euros for a week’s worth of wireless connectivity…twice!
Clearly, I am not of the millennial generation that expects Wi-Fi to be as freely available as air, but I am of an age that has just battled through a recession and I do not like spending money unnecessarily.
I would rather sit in the restaurant or bar and wait for the free service to work or use the mobile roaming data that comes as part of my mobile package.
As a guest, I expect free Wi-Fi. I know it’s just a campsite, but I’m demanding! However, I do not mind giving away a few details to gain it. I just do not want to pay for it, even though I did need to regularly check on emails and messages and wanted to look up details of local attractions and restaurants.
I do not think I am alone in this attitude, and I think more campsites, hotels, restaurants, etc. will start offering free Wi-Fi as part of their catch-all service to give them a competitive edge.
However, I do appreciate that a decent Wi-Fi service represents an investment so how can these hospitality businesses make their money back if they cannot encourage people to pay for the service?
As I mentioned before, by taking some of my details or using Facebook to login, they will no doubt email me to lure me back next year or to ask if I would recommend them to a friend. They could have also sent me messages and emails while I was on site with offers to encourage me to use their restaurants, bars and other facilities.
Modern guest Wi-Fi solutions include login pages that can be personalised to suit their needs and can include adverts from local businesses so there is money to be made there too.
Both the above takes some marketing effort, but will undoubtedly reap dividend. Even without this, site-wide free Wi-Fi will gladden the hearts of most your guests and will give you another positive to judge you on when they write their online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Pitchup, etc. which should lead to extra bookings and returning customers.
Holidays shouldn’t really be about the free Wi-Fi access but it’s undoubtedly an attractive feature when people are looking to book their accommodation. My generation and older may be somewhat mollified by some free Wi-Fi in public areas but the millennials and those coming up behind them like my daughter will be even more demanding than me. The hospitality industry had better get ready!