Vacation Rentals & Internet Access – Is There Demand?

wifi-logo1 Finding a cottage rental in UK that has hi-speed internet is not an easy task as we found out recently when looking for a couple of rentals for our upcoming trip. The challenge we faced was not only to find a place that was available for the time we wanted, but to check the internet status as well.

We’re heading to UK in just over two weeks to visit family we haven’t seen for a few years and to say hello to a new granddaughter! It’ll be a short trip because it’s the busiest time of the year for our rental business but I thought it would be easy to search for a couple of cottages with internet access so I could stay in touch. That wasn’t the case as most sites don’t seem to consider WiFi an important enough feature to show in an advanced search; others bury the feature amongst the text, making searching a laborious process.

I asked prospective renters visiting our booth at three cottage shows this month, ‘How important is internet access to you on your vacation?’ and was not surprised at the response. Many said it was a deal breaker and they would not consider a property that did not at least have a strong cell signal; some said it would impact their decision and they would be more likely to choose one with WiFi over one without even if they had to pay a little more. A few traditionalists still hold out for the rustic no-TV, no WiFi variety of cottage but there don’t seem to be as many of these about any more.

This experience solidified our decision to put an internet service in Osprey Cottage. Although we have really good occupancy during the year, it’s an added value feature our guests will appreciate and could help us fill some of the weekdays in the low season. We have no line of sight wireless service but an Xplornet satellite option makes it feasible.

The dish and set up is free with an activation cost of $99. It will cost $70 per month so will be paid for with the additional bookings we expect to get in low season because of this added service. It’s a no-brainer.

Alex Wright of Gites with a Pool in the Dordogne nailed it in his response to my Twitter question about whether guests wanted wifi:

wifi twitter q

It was also interesting to talk to a few owners at the Shows whose traditional views on what they consider to be in demand, and refusal to upgrade, is impacting their occupancy.  While I agree to some extent that vacations are a time to relax and get away from the trappings of a fast moving modern environment, this is not always a practical perspective for appealing to a wide demographic.  It’s all down to choice and economics.  I’d love to hear your views.

Aleix

We own a holiday home on Mallorca Island, and in my opinion an Internet connection takes part of the basic equipment. Most of our guests come from abroad, and even if they have a mobile phone with Internet, the roaming fees in Europe aren’t cheap. Nowadays, most people keep in touch with their friends and the media over Internet, and even more when they are abroad.

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Kym

We have found the same thing with our 6 bedroom vacation rental in Cape Coral Florida. We had to add WiFi.

veronica

Alex has indeed nailed it. It’s a no-brainer to provide Internet access if it’s possible (obviously in remote locations it may not be practical). It is a deal-breaker for us, not just for work reasons as we are self-employed, but because of the convenience of being able to look up information about the local area, Google maps etc. Personally I’m not so bothered about cellphone signal because cellphones don’t work in our house anyway :-/

It’s also an area where you can differentiate yourself from hotels. I can’t tell you how irritating it is to pay £60 or more a night in a hotel, and be expected to pay on top of that for Internet access — something you can get free with a cup of coffee elsewhere!

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