The importance of wifi in tourism

Now that most cell phones can access the internet, you might think that you can quit worrying about public wifi for tourism. But more than ever, wifi is important to local tourism strategies, especially in small towns.

Waynoka libraryYou understand that your visitors want to access the web while traveling. They are researching attractions, looking up events, loading maps, reviewing restaurants, and sharing all about how great you are. And you want that, right?

Reasons wifi still matters

  1. Your can’t control your town’s cell service. Not every town has great coverage for every type of cell service. Even if your visitors can make calls, they may not be able to load data. I have this exact problem in much of Kansas and Nebraska with my phone.
  2. International visitors hate roaming charges. Many avoid using any data services while traveling. That doesn’t mean they want to be offline.
  3. More devices love wifi. I’m writing this on a wifi enabled iPad, and I see them everywhere. Add in the smart phones, laptops, and netbooks, and all the other devices I don’t even know about. That’s lots of reasons to offer wifi.

Ways to give visitors more wifi

  • Find out where wifi is available now. Ask. Ask everyone: schools, libraries, businesses, and even housing.
  • Let people know about the wifi you found. Make big, consistent, simple and easy to read signs. Get those signs posted everywhere that public wifi is available.
  • Pursue more wifi. Encourage your local government or telecom provider to get involved.
  • Make wifi safer. In this era of simple hacking, wifi needs to be secured. Cooperate with your local chamber or tech school to host a workshop on how to make public wifi more secure. As of right now, setting a password, even if it’s publicly available, adds some protection.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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