Friday, 25 March 2011

Free WiFi or Not free WiFi?

A device that has WiFi enabled, like a laptop, iPad, smart phone, etc, allows the user to connect to the Internet without wires. This is becoming an integral part of everyday life.

Most hotels have provided a Wifi service which is available for purchase such as BTOpenZone or BitBuzz. At the Belmore Court & Motel seven years ago we started to provide a Wifi service through BTOpenZone and Surf2Go. Voucher could have been bought on a hourly or daily requirement.

After 2 years we found a demand for Free Wifi and so I setup our own network for Free Wifi. This involved installing 12 routers throughout the building o ensure all rooms were covered. We manage this technology ourselves. On the whole this has been very positively recieved - even though we need to reset the routers as and when a customer notices the connection has failed.

We are soon coming to a cross road. If we upgrade to a more relaible & efficient external system there is an initial cost for equipment purchase and almost £200/month including newer SuperFast broadband lines to keep a very reliable connection and an excellent support service. I'm not keen on charging customers to use the Wifi but also with the current economic recession I can't build it into the room rate for all guests. All other costs are increasing dramatically and I can't absorb this extra cost.

There are a couple of options:

1) Stay with the current system; Free but not as reliable as it could be.

2) Install new system and charge £8/hour and/or £12/day. Offers excellent reliability and support service.

3) Install new system and give 1st half hour free and the charge rates as per above. Offer excellent reliability and support service.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and/or suggestions.




  1. As a web designer and Information Marketer, I've booked to stay in Hotels in the past because they offered free WIFI. The amount of time I spend on the internet this would be a factor for me. However in saying that, reliability also plays a role and I have also stayed in hotels where you need to pay for the wifi and have bought a day card etc.

  2. I can see exactly where you are coming from in terms of the dilema but I really cant see too many people paying out £8 an hour for wifi - I know I wouldnt. Anytime Im in Ekn and I need to connect to wifi, I go into McDonalds because its free and I think if you charge £8, most other people will too.

  3. How about this, Install this new system and offer it for free only to customers who book directly on your website. This will add value to your own website business and shift some third party business direct! You would need to advertise this clearly on your website, facebook etc. We have a 3* Hotel in Dublin offering this. Sarah