The Tasmanian Government is seeking public comment on its vision to provide free public Wi-Fi (wireless internet) services, targeted at tourists in towns and cities across Tasmania. So what does this mean for your business?
From a traveller’s perspective:
Last year I was lucky enough be in Europe. As I’m a tourism online marketing consultant, I was keen to discover how I could use the internet to enhance the overall experience.
When using your phone away from home, the options for getting online are often not great. I’ve been stung by international roaming fees previously, so after a few attempts using both travel and local SIM cards. I gave up and went on a relentless hunt for Wi-Fi. Not surprisingly, I often chose accommodation and cafes that had free Wi-Fi.
Some regions were great, others not so. When I did find a Wi-Fi network, I was able to choose the perfect restaurant for the evening, find the best shopping, choose my must do activities, check the weather, book the next leg of the journey, see exactly where I was on a map and learn the local way to say thank you.
I then got onto my own housekeeping. Typically this included some emails for work, internet banking and social media. I used Facebook to keep up with happenings at home and to show friends and family what I was up to – some would call it bragging!
How does this relate to your business?
This so-called ‘bragging’ is an opportunity that can be leveraged by all types of businesses. A simple check-in on your business’ Facebook page could be seen by hundreds, possibly thousands, of people. Photos shared on Instagram with the right hashtags could reach state and national tourism offices (they are always searching for beautiful photos to promote their destinations). And a good review on Tripadvisor can bring many people to your door.
Social media combined with immediate internet access means content can be shared in the moment. If we rely on customers to remember to check-in to your establishment when they’ve found Wi-Fi hours later– well, it’s unlikely to happen.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Tasmania’s large percentage of domestic tourists all have ready internet access through their phones. They don’t and many only have coverage in Australia’s big cities, and not regional Tasmania. Free Wi-Fi could be a perfect solution.
How could your business make the most of free public Wi-Fi?
- Ensure your business has amazing experiences that people will want to share.
- Be supportive of getting Wi-Fi in your area
- Signs and brochures explaining how patrons can get on the free public Wi-Fi.
- Put signs up in your business encouraging participation, like Facebook check-ins or using hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
- Consider offering a bonus if people show you they’ve shared your business on social media. For example, some cafes offer a little biscuit with a coffee purchase for those who have checked-in.
- Hold photo competitions for your patrons. Have a hashtag for the competition and show results in real time on a tablet screen on the front counter.
- If you own a café, be prepared for customers to stay longer. It’s a great opportunity for staff to upsell that second coffee!
- Any information you can get about who is using the free Wi-Fi and what content they’re looking at will help inform your online marketing activities in the future.
We should be enabling our tourists to help Tasmania showcase itself as a leader in national and international tourism.
How do you think Wi-Fi services could enhance visitor experiences?
What could your business do to make the most of these services?
Click here to read the Tasmanian Free Public Wi-Fi consultation paper.
The blog was written by Rebecca King of Kingthing Marketing, her national tourism marketing consultancy. Rebecca has previously worked in small business, state government, the airline industry and media. She’s a multi – award winner - nine for her Launceston-based cruise company, Tourism Tasmania awards, the Telstra Business Award for Innovation, and the 2006 Telstra Tasmanian Corporate Business Woman of the Year.