Dateline: October 20: MSNBC published an article today about more travelers wanting free wifi. Harriet Baskas wrote, “When choosing a place to buy a meal or spend the night, most travelers say the availability of free Wi-Fi is now a factor in their choice of venue.”
Last spring I visited a resort while strategizing with a group in Costa Rica. The location was beautiful – but miles from civilzation. There was no cell phone service. There was no ATM. There was no Starbucks (OMG!).
But they had wifi.
Miles into the Central American jungle and I could connect with my wife, my office and my world.
I remember reading a travel article in 2002 about how most hotels offered hair dryers in the rooms and about half had complimentary shampoo bottles. Now it’s different.
These accessories are common.
At that time very few hotels and almost no motels offered wifi – free or paid. Most everyone wanted to check their email and you could go, in many hotels to the “business center” and log-in if you had an account. Many had it only in their lobby. So the lobby was filled with anxious business people and unruly children who wanted to game online. That’s different now.
Most hotels and motels now provide easy access wifi. Most charge little or nothing for the perk (although some chains like Marriott are very proud of their Ibahn connection and let you know in their pricing).
We now expect wifi in some of the most unusual places. I am writing this online on the plane as I fly to Boston. Just two years ago almost no one could update their FaceBook page, tweet or send an email while they were flying. A year and a half ago, AirTran (just bought out by Southwest Airlines) began to feature on board wifi. Now almost every major carrier has it in some form.
Clear is making wifi available to connect to the internet through a connection in most major cities. Once wifi was a perk for the few, but is now expected by your customers. Coffee shops feature it. Bookstores make it available (not just to their sites now). Auto serivce centers provide it or their waiting customers. Small towns make it available. Why don’t you?
What does this mean for your business? It means business is different now. Your customers, patients, travelers, shoppers, diners, passengers, visitors, guests and patrons all want to stay connected – just as they do at home.
What are some ways you can capitalize on this trend? What are ways your people can stay in touch with the world while doing business with you? You can’t keep doing dis-connected business in a connected world.
The world of 2010-2011 is different. Are you?