RVers will tolerate many irritations and inconveniences: Interstate or train noise, overcrowded sites, inconvenient placement of city utilities, poor voltage, low water pressure, GPS misdirection and more.
A study commissioned by Broadcom amusingly found that 75 percent of people say one week without Wi-Fi would leave them grumpier than one week without coffee.
Not surprising since Pew Internet Research says that 90 percent of people have a mobile device in reach 100 percent of the time and Deloitte tells us that Wi-Fi has become the medium of choice with two-thirds of US consumers preferring Wi-Fi to cellular.
Today’s campers are more “plugged in” when preparing for camping trips and while at campsites. Of those surveyed, half of all campers (51 percent) claim that they go online at least once a day while camping, and four out of 10 (41 percent) say that having free Wi-Fi influences their decision to stay at a campground.
When selecting which campgrounds to visit and stay, free Wi-Fi ranks as the third most important amenity, behind only clean bathrooms and a kid-friendly environment, and outpaces access to recreational activities such as a campground store, cabins, and even safety lighting.
It’s no surprise then that the importance of adequate, functional, honestly portrayed Wi-Fi is becoming a highly discussed topic amongst consumers.
When a campground or RV park advertises free Wi-Fi, they should provide travelers with a fast and reliable connection. RVers want fast Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes and for keeping in touch with family and friends.
While there are a number of factors that affect speed and performance, some that simply cannot be helped, the consumer most certainly has an expectation, the one that’s been set by the RV park. When a display ad, listing, website, or telephone representative tells an RVer that Wi-Fi is available it is expected to function adequately. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi reality often times does not live up to the promise.
The key point here is campgrounds and RV parks need to set realistic expectations and deliver as promised. They need to be honest, clear, and upfront with the RVing public.
Whether the Wi-Fi service is a hotspot at the clubhouse, free, offers tiered pricing levels, or is pay to play, say so. If the park’s bandwidth is limited guests should be told up-front.
If Wi-Fi service is frequently down and consumers may experience disruptions campgrounds need to consider a fix and avoid promoting it. It is a mistake for an RV park to set them self up to disappoint their guests and create ill will.
RV park management must think of Wi-Fi as a utility. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Wi-Fi is one of— if not the— first questions I ask when contacting a campground. It’s right up there with 50-amp electric service, city water, and sewer. Connectivity is no longer a nicety but for many of us RVers, it is a deal maker or breaker.
High-end, 5-star RV resorts that advertize an outdoor vacation on par with other vacation options, must deliver the same expectations as if the family chose to stay at the Hilton, go to Disney, or take an urban vacation. That’s their competition and they are delivering on Wi-Fi as a utility, tweaking as needed and adjusting their pricing plans based upon consumer feedback (outrage may be more like it).
It’s all about RV parks listening to their customers and figuring out a way to deliver what we ask for, be it a splash park and spa, 50-amp powered sites, or fast, reliable Wi-Fi.
Set high standards and realistic expectations and live up to them. In my humble opinion, that is one of the key ways RV parks and campgrounds can lift the perceptions of the experiences they sell.
To compete with other vacation/lodging options park management must deliver.
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.