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Wi Fi? Wi not?

Lindsay Herbert Head of Digital (Global)

Our last seminar for the destinations sector - The DREAM day out -saw the heavy weights of the sector converge at the BFI for a morning of digital brainstorming and discussion which focused around our latest digital report ‘Digitally promoting and enhancing the visitor experience’.

One of the real talking points for our attendees was the dreaded debate about ‘FREE WIFI’.

Yes, it costs money to provide, and yes, it can be abused, but at Precedent we see huge value in offering free WIFI at your visitor attraction. It is an easy way to increase social sharing whilst a visitor is on site, and the relatively low cost of this installation can create a space where visitors can share their experience with a vast audience of potential new visitors. Not doing it is an opportunity missed. It’s how you manage it and make it work for you that’s key.

Last year Twickenham had a BIG makeover. One key aim was to encourage supporters to adopt the role of ‘The 16th Man’ and really back the team by taking control of their social media strategy. They introduced free HD Wi-Fi which has allowed the Rugby Football Union to increase communication with the supporters via social media such as Twitter and Facebook on match days, but equally, and perhaps more valuable than anything, it ensured that the supporters can share their Twickenham experience with the world. The best and most cost effective PR there is.

In an article with The Telegraph, Sophie Goldschmidt, the RFU’s chief commercial officer said “Going digital has been a big focus for us, it is how we are communicating with our current and new fans. We now have greater access to our players, giving us more unique content. On match days, we want to push that out to supporters via their mobiles.”

Another example of the push for free WIFI was from a recent campaign launched by Tourism Australia. General manager of consumer marketing for Tourism Australia, Nick Baker, says the widespread adoption of free WIFI will generate "priceless" international exposure for Australia. ''Holidays are all about living in the moment…how often have we promised ourselves that we'll post a great holiday moment on Facebook, tweet out a photo or a review on TripAdvisor, but not been able to do so due to lack of WIFI access?". They are pushing visitor attractions to get on board and asking the large telecommunications companies to join the campaign.

Similarly, this year the Japanese government began to tackle the issue of free WIFI or lack of. Responses to a survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organisation that revealed ease of Internet connectivity was a top priority among foreign visitors. The Japanese government is actively pursuing opportunities to establish a wider network of free WIFI hotspots that will give visitors easy access to online guides, train timetables and other tourism-related digital content to help improve the visitor experience. Many tourist destinations have now provided a free WIFI card with username and password on receipt upon showing a valid passport.

At Precedent we incorporate the mobile experience into all digital transformations. For the destinations sector it is a key part of the visitor experience cycle. If you don’t allow your visitors to engage and share - you lose out.  There is no point creating a mobile app if you don’t have a wider mobile strategy in place to deliver results.  A recent example of this was a great mobile app we designed for an events company.

The purpose: To engage people in the lead up to their flagship event, to connect people at the live event, to give the user quick and easy access to their meeting schedule, and to ensure the attendees get maximum value.

The problem: The venue for their biggest live event is cruise ship in the middle of the sea! WIFi is a problem.

We worked hard with them to provide a working solution. Had we not done so, there would have been hundreds of people walking round a luxury liner with no idea of where they need to be and when. Without WIFI access for the event app to run from, the entire visitor experience could have been very different.

Every visitor attraction and destination has different requirements. Equally, they all have challenges that are individual to them, but the DREAM digital experience should apply to all - DESIRE, RESEARCH, ENGAGE, ATTEND, MEMORIES. If you would like to request our latest report and find out more, visit our reports A DREAM day out HERE.


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