What business model should I use for WiFi in a campsite?

Guillaume Barre (UK)
15 Jul 2020

The business model for WiFi services is still often a controversial issue in the outdoor hospitality sector. Unlike hotels, which almost all opt for full financing of the service and free access for customers, campsites still have fairly diverse practices. There are several economic models for WiFi in the outdoor sector, both for specialised operators and campsite managers. The economic model chosen will determine the distribution of financing for the service between the operator, the campsites and the customers.

Let's discover together the components of the different economic models of WiFi service on a campsite:

  • the main types of partnership that can be set up between operators and campsites
  • the different ways in which guests can access WiFi

Financing strategies for customer WiFi in a campsite

The campsite wants to offer WiFi to its guests without charging for the service

This option exists for campsites and has a clear financial advantage. Indeed, in this situation, it is the operator who bears the economic burden despite the absence of a guarantee on the revenue generated via the subscriptions taken out by the establishment's customers. In this configuration, the campsite offers wireless Internet access to its customers but cannot expect any guarantee on the quality of service since the operator will certainly adjust its costs in line with the projected turnover. 

The campsite is ready to fund part of the WiFi service

When the campsite is willing to bear part of the costs of the WiFi service, the balance shifts between the operator and the campsite. Each assumes part of the financing for the deployment of the infrastructure. In the course of operating the service, the operator generates income through subscriptions taken out by the establishment's customers and pays a fee to the campsite (usually calculated as a % of total income).

The campsite finances the entire WiFi service to ensure its quality

In the case where the campsite is ready to finance the entire WiFi service, it certainly assumes the financial burden of the service but remains in control of the conditions of access to WiFi for its customers. It can then choose the mode(s) of access to the service as it wishes and thus find the right balance between making the WiFi service profitable (with paid WiFi packages) and enriching its offer (with free WiFi access). This is also the most virtuous collaboration since the operator receives revenues fixed upstream and thus commits to a high quality of service, defined contractually (through "SLAs").

The Wifirst Eye

We always advise our customers to invest in funding the WiFi infrastructure and service. Today, digital convergence is the order of the day. This means that a lot of equipment will rely on the deployed IT network to function: video surveillance, IP telephony, IPTV, etc.  It is therefore essential to have a reliable, secure and high-performance technical base to supply all the services. As you will have understood, the investment does not only concern the client WiFi, it responds to a more global challenge and therefore becomes almost inevitable in our eyes! François Sotom, Outdoor Hospitality Manager Wifirst

The different ways of accessing guest WiFi at campsites

There are several ways of providing Internet access to guests at a campsite. Between paid WiFi and free WiFi, intermediate formulas have been developed to satisfy the greatest number of people. However, depending on the financing strategy chosen (see above), the paid WiFi options may be the most obvious.

WiFi for a fee throughout the campsite

Some campsites choose to offer only paid WiFi throughout their site, regardless of the conditions of use.

Free WiFi in the common areas and for a fee on the pitches

Halfway between free and paid, there is a hybrid offer with free WiFi in the common areas (reception, restaurant, swimming pool) and a paid network on the pitches.

Free WiFi in the premium pitches and chargeable in the rest of the pitches

Free WiFi depends on the range of pitches chosen by the customer at the time of booking. Thus, the most qualitative pitches benefit from free WiFi access, unlike the classic pitches.

Free WiFi only during a specific time slot

Rarer, this formula aims to offer free WiFi for a period of the day (e.g. from 11 am to 12 pm) while Internet access remains paid for the rest of the day.

Free WiFi for a limited time and then chargeable

In order to take a step towards free access, it is possible to offer free access for a limited period of time accompanied by paying packages for the largest consumers.

Free WiFi throughout the campsite

The access mode that offers the best level of service to the customer is 100% free. It is certainly difficult to implement economically but represents real added value.

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