Consumers increasingly expect Wi-Fi service at RV resorts and campgrounds to be comparable to the service they have at home. And when they don’t get the level of service they expect, they often voice their dissatisfaction online rather than giving operators the chance to address the problem.
That was the message TengoInternet’s Eric Stumberg gave to Arizona park operators at the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (AZ ARVC) meeting in El Mirage at the end of April.
“What we’re seeing right now is they don’t call, they go to TripAdvisor. And the result of that can have negative, long-term effects on a brand and business,” said Stumberg, founder & CEO of Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet, in a news release.
Stumberg talked about the challenges operators face with Wi-Fi service in a series of roundtable discussions last week during the Arizona Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, sponsored by the AZ ARVC. About 40 operators, vendors and industry leaders attended the meeting and roundtable discussions at Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, according to an announcement.
Stumberg, whose company has provided Wi-Fi service to more than 1,000 RV resorts, campgrounds and lodging operators across the U.S. and Canada for the past 13 years, said there is currently no industry standard for Wi-Fi. As a result, he said, operators provide widely varying levels of Wi-Fi service to their guests, often with drastically different results.
Stumberg described Wi-Fi service as a three-legged stool. He said all three legs are critical to a positive guest Wi-Fi experience.
The first leg is the Internet Service Provider (ISP). This refers to companies such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable, which deliver internet access through telephone, cable or fiber-optic lines. More bandwidth means a better guest Wi-Fi experience. But the ISP isn’t the only factor, Stumberg reminded attendees.
The second leg of the stool, Stumberg said, is the Wi-Fi equipment, or network. A high-quality network should deliver strong and uninterrupted Wi-Fi signals to guests despite trees or signal interference resulting from other electronic devices or nearby businesses and infrastructure.
The third essential leg is service, including guest support; technical troubleshooting and resolution; and usage monitoring and reporting. This is particularly important as guests turn to online campground and travel review forums to vent their Wi-Fi frustrations.
Stumberg encouraged operators to provide guests with clear instructions at check-in so they know not only what level of Wi-Fi service they can expect, but what to do in the event of a problem.
“You have to build accurate expectations of what Wi-Fi service looks like at your property,” he said. He added that operators must take responsibility for ensuring their Wi-Fi service meets guests’ expectations because it directly affects reputation and overall business results.
“The Wi-Fi service you offer is a reflection of you and your brand, and it has a very clear impact on your overall business,” Stumberg said.