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> Ouestion For Campers From A Park Owner
campNout
post May 12 2009, 01:22 AM
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I just came across ed this site couple of days ago, and have really enjoyed reading all the posts.
I came looking for information on WiFi and have posted a few questions and have gotten some good answers. In reading posts about Camp Reviews I have gotten the feeling that most campers do not like to pay for wifi or wifi provided by a third party. I have been working to add wifi for 2 years, I wanted to install it my self with no charge to guests. I realized that I could not install antennas on top of all buildings in park or all the other gizmos needed to get a signal over the whole park. I just paid a deposit 1/2 of the fee to have a third party install. After reading all the posts I feel I have made a expensive error, but it is to late now to back out.

Questions are to help me serve my guests and make their stay as pleasant as possible.

Why don't campers like third party wifi (I will not be getting any of the profit) even thou I am paying for all the equipment, additional charges for higher speed and an IP address PLUS $10.00 a month to company to maintain the site.

Here is a quote that I copied from a post. "" I will claim "false advertising" if the RV Park says "We have wireless" only to find out that you have to sign up with a third party "" Can you help me with the Proper way to let guests know wifi is available to them. What should I place on my web site.??? Would it correct to say wifi provider by *******. I am confused about this.

I have read that the price most are willing to pay is $2.00 a day. I don't know if I can convince the ***company to go with $2.00 but might be able to get the rate down to $3.00.

Here are my options Our In season rate is $40.00 (our rate is the lowest in our area, other parks are $75.00 - $90.00) Hey if I charged $90.00 I could have FREE wifi. I have a Internet coupon for $3.00 off the nightly rate. Also give $3.00 for AARP, Military etc. I could discontinue all discounts and pay the $3.00 my self so the guest could have WiFi FREE. Do you think I should do this or keep the discount and let the guest pay for wifi if they want it. I feel that by doing away with the discount I am making the ones who have no interest in internet {afer all they are on vacation} pay for the ones who do. PLEASE help me out here.

We use to charge $2.00 for cable tv. We did this because the guests with satellite did not need or want cable and were able to save $2.00. THIS Did not work as when guests found out the cable was $2.00 NO ONE Wanted ctv, BUT when we would go around the park most were hooked up to ctv. When asked NICELY about it they would say OH WE ONLY WANTED To watch one program. We had no choice but to add the $2.00 to the rate and make the ctv FREE.

I read posts by a camp owner who told of all the time spent helping people get on line. I know this is true as even with ctv we are constantly having to take a tv to the site to prove the cable works. WE SPEND HOURS A WEEK SHOWING PEOPLE HOW TO PROGRAM THEIR SETS TO GET CABLE. Cable has been a NIGHTMARE and now another BEAST coming my way Internet.

Until my contract is up with said company I am stuck and hope some one here will help point me in the right direction. Free (not really) or Pay. I can't pay the ***company when a guests goes on line and give the discount so which one is the better way.
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Florida Native
post May 12 2009, 01:00 PM
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QUOTE
Can you help me with the Proper way to let guests know wifi is available to them. What should I place on my web site.??? Would it correct to say wifi provider by *******. I am confused about this.


The term, “Wireless Available” in my opinion has come to mean 3rd party or paid WiFi available in my opinion. I hate it when I see "WiFi or We have WiFi" in the guide book or website, WiFi and then get there and see that I have to pay an additional $3.95. We always ask about this on the phone when making our daily choice and mentally add it in. I would much rather have free WiFi at the office than $4.95 to have it at the site. With a good antenna, I can usually pick it up at my site. I can always go up and do my email, banking, and next day campground searching at the office. Quality of signal is more important than at site signal. (for me at least).

In my opinion, you are much better off increasing your daily rate and not charging extra for WiFi. When you charge extra, you will get a lot more complaints about problems many of which won’t be your fault. People expect a lifetime guarantee for their three bucks.

In business, you are going to have a lot of people confused over cable, WiFi, power hookups and lots of things. It is this way in most businesses. A very good well thought out instruction sheet to give out at check in can stop a lot of this confusion as well as cut down on your time explaining where local attractions and dining places are located. When people get new coaches they get instructions on everything in the coach and they forget most of it. Lots of people only use their coach a couple of times a year and forget. You are dealing with lots of people who grew up with vacuum tube radios.

There are several good threads on this subject going back 2 years tht you might read. We also have some goog park owners who can help. Not having WiFi is going to really hurt your business in the long run and more and more RV’ers are thinking that daily internet is a must. The problem is that technology is changing so fast, that you don’t want to get stuck with an expensive outdated system.

Good Luck


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Lindsay Richards
http://www.linandnancy.com
Formerly Lindsay Richards
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Denali
post May 12 2009, 01:19 PM
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Travelers nowadays expect free Internet access. Although we are full time RVers and never stay in hotels, I'll bet that those motels we see with their "Internet" signs are not generally charging for that service.

Lindsay is right. The only reasonable thing to do is to raise your rates to cover your costs for providing Internet access. As others have pointed out, that will probably relieve you of most of the support time you will be asked to provide, and since you say you are the least expensive park in the area, folks aren't likely to go elsewhere due to that increase.

Good luck.


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Dave Rudisill
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Texasrvers
post May 12 2009, 02:07 PM
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Those of you who know my lack of technical prowess are probably already laughing over the fact that I've joined in here, but I do have a thought that might have a bearing on how much equipment the OP should get. While I agree with the both Lindsay's and Denali's comments (Rvers expect free wi-fi and they expect it to work), I'm wondering if wi-fi will become obsolete in a few years because of the increasing use of air cards. Now again this is not something I fully understand, but I do know I have heard several members mention their air card. I think this is what Lindsay was getting at. It would be terrible to spend thousands of dollars on a wi-fi system now, and have it be obsolete in a year. Does anyone have an idea about which way the industry is going?
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DXSMac
post May 12 2009, 06:00 PM
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Air cards (Both Sprint and Verizon) are $59.99 a month, last I checked (and what I'm currently being charged with Verizon, although at one time there was a $49.99 special...). Kind of steep, (and I'm still paying for DSL at home, which doesn't get used when I'm in the RV!!!).

Also, my understanding is that some people get internet access with their satellite dish.

JJ


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BJS
post May 12 2009, 06:43 PM
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Keep the discount. Raise your rates just enough to cover the WiFi at the sites where it is available. Advertise free Wi-Fi but if it is not available every where in your park make it known that it is only available at selected sites and the office (assuming it is).

A well written handout at check-in for WiFi usage (just saw a PDF link on a campground site the other day which explained how to use it and why you might not be able to get on) will help each camper and hopefully you won't be called on for help very often.

Why don't you make up a handout to give at check -in with instructions on how to program TVs to get cable? Most sets are very similar and most problems not getting cable are the result of just a few situations. This probably won't eliminate all the hours you spend helping people but will most likely cut those hours down considerably.
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westernrvparkowner
post May 13 2009, 04:50 PM
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Wifi included in the site fees is the way to go. Contact your vendor and find out how much they will charge you to let your guests sign in at no charge. That being said, do not worry too much if you are unable to provide it for free. The guy that was going to claim "false advertising" and similar threats are all a lot of hot air. You wouldn't be expected to provide propane for free if you advertised "propane available". Don't worry about stuff like that. The biggest reason we include wifi in the fees is it improves customer satisfaction and reduces the complaints if the wifi is slower or has some problems. Most people don't feel right raising a ruckus about something they didn't directly pay for. A couple of dollars more for a site won't cause people to choose other parks and you may get a few new customers due to the WiFi
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DXSMac
post May 13 2009, 05:04 PM
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If you have it locked down with a special code so that people who live next door to your park can't use it, then you could still advertise it as "free," but charge $1 for the code. This would help you recoup some of the costs, and would be fair. I was at a park that did this. The $1 was good whether you stayed one day or one month.

JJ


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Florida Native
post May 13 2009, 05:39 PM
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I might not be up to speed on this (pun intended), but I don’t think air cards are fast enough for those of us who like to surf the internet and watch a lot of videos. I’m talking about the full screen, 3 minute type you see on a lot of news and informational sites. I keep hoping that WiMax or something similar is going to make WiFi obsolete, It has been coming soon for about the last 5 years, but still isn’t here yet. Technology has a very rapid pace. The phone I use daily would have been unheard of a few years ago. I have to believe internet reception is going to be similar. I have been using WiFi daily about 4 years now and have seen huge increases in quality and availability. When making the “secret code” you might want to select something easy. I have stayed at campgrounds with either a 10 or 24 digit ASCII code that had to be entered each time. One trick here is to put it into a word processing file and just past it in each time to say time and mistakes.


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campNout
post May 13 2009, 06:17 PM
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Thanks to ALL. I guess I am going to drop the discount, raise the rate just to cover ever what the daily rate turns out to be, and call it free. I feel really bad that I have to do this. What if a guest comes in and pays the higher rate but only uses the internet for 2 out of 5 days. MORE for me but we have never tried to SQUEEZE every dime we can out of people. I have always treated people like I want to be treated. During Holidays MOST parks here raise the rate you know supply and demand, we never have done that. Some times being fair is hard.

Before every thing went wireless we would let guests come to the office and plug into the phone jack for dial up and ask them to please limit to 15 minutes if at all possible, as we had one phone line. We had some sit on the coach for 4 hours, needless to say we had to stop sharing the line.

Thanks again, I might be back with more questions as no one knows the answers better than those that camp.
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Texasrvers
post May 13 2009, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 13 2009, 06:39 PM) *

I have stayed at campgrounds with either a 10 or 24 digit ASCII code that had to be entered each time. One trick here is to put it into a word processing file and just past it in each time to say time and mistakes.


We must have stayed at the same park(s), and what a pain it was to put in the code each time we logged on. As for for the tip about putting the code in a word processor, I had not thought of that. What a great idea! Thanks for mentioning it.
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pianotuna
post May 13 2009, 08:07 PM
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Hi campNout,

Yes, do call it "free" but make sure to mention that it is a third party provider and that you have no control over the quality or quantity of service.

A good hand out and PDF file would be an asset.

If you do not wish folks to "freeload" off the wifi that the campground is providing it would be best to have a security code. Changing it daily would be a hassle for longer term visitors--but changing it every two weeks may make that easier.

I hope your experience with wifi will be easier than the cable tv, but I fear I am wrong about that.

QUOTE(campNout @ May 13 2009, 06:17 PM) *

Thanks to ALL. I guess I am going to drop the discount, raise the rate just to cover ever what the daily rate turns out to be, and call it free. I feel really bad that I have to do this. What if a guest comes in and pays the higher rate but only uses the internet for 2 out of 5 days. MORE for me but we have never tried to SQUEEZE every dime we can out of people. I have always treated people like I want to be treated. During Holidays MOST parks here raise the rate you know supply and demand, we never have done that. Some times being fair is hard.

Before every thing went wireless we would let guests come to the office and plug into the phone jack for dial up and ask them to please limit to 15 minutes if at all possible, as we had one phone line. We had some sit on the coach for 4 hours, needless to say we had to stop sharing the line.

Thanks again, I might be back with more questions as no one knows the answers better than those that camp.



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RLM
post May 13 2009, 08:12 PM
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This is one of my few pet peeves about campgrounds. “Free” is only disguised as such by creative advertising or hidden fees. Those who think that they are getting free Wi-Fi at a camp ground are not educated consumers. It’s a cost of doing business and passed along to the consumer. I have absolutely no problem with that. It’s a business folks, they have to charge for amenities to stay in business. Complainers, wise up!!

With all due respect westernparkowner, some of us are not full of “hot air.” I don’t appreciate false advertising by a camp ground to get me to stay there. If you state internet access, then you should have the courtesy and honesty to let me know when it’s a fee based system. If you state big rig friendly, then your sites should be at least 65 feet long. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Now, can someone tell me why camp grounds have to fudge the facts, and RV’ers expect something for nothing??
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Texasrvers
post May 13 2009, 09:46 PM
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How about saying something like, "WiFi access included in site fee" or "Wifi included at no extra cost"? That way you're not saying it is free, but it does indicate there is no add on charge. Course now I've used 6 words to say what can be done in 2--Free WiFi. Actually it doesn't matter how you say it. Somebody sometime somewhere will think it should be worded differently.

And I think most people understand the concept of "free" anything. They know it is not truly free, that it is a part of the overall fee which has been set to cover all operating expenses and produce a profit. The term free simply means you don't pay for it separately.
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Florida Native
post May 14 2009, 04:00 PM
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QUOTE
What if a guest comes in and pays the higher rate but only uses the internet for 2 out of 5 days. MORE for me but we have never tried to SQUEEZE every dime we can out of people.




What about the guest who comes in and doesn’t use the sewer hookup at all? We monitor and manage the tanks and probably average dumping every 4 days or so. Some people use lots of power or water or hot tub. WiFi is no different. You have just got to think of the averages. I have probably not dumped in 70 % of the campgrounds we have used in 39 states. I didn’t ever ask for a refund or think I had been ripped off. When I pay $3.95 for internet service and it won’t work or works improperly I am PO’ed 100 % o the time. Think of WiFI as just another amenity and figure it into your price and they can use it if they want. I have also had free WiFi that I didn’t use.


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