If there’s one thing the internet has demonstrated in recent years, it’s that everyone loves an app. Some mobile apps now govern our lives – how we book flights, secure tables at restaurants, play games, view photos – while others merely seek to induce a chuckle. Making life faster, slicker, less troublesome: that’s the modus operandi of most apps. And a new one – designed to refine the process of finding and booking holiday homes – is no different.
The free HomeAway UK iPhone app is an essential piece of kit for travellers of all descriptions. Looking for more tranquillity than is offered by a busy hotel? Want to stay in your own private villa, cottage, houseboat? Cool. This app puts you slap-bang in the middle of a trusted marketplace, bustling with property owners who lease their abodes to tourists from around the world. Even if you’re just passing through a town or city for a weekend – to catch a show, visit a friend, watch a football match – you can rent an apartment for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
With smart-phones, mobile devices, and laptop computers becoming an essential part of life these days, more travellers are expecting to have wireless internet access while they’re on holiday. From making travel plans to checking email, uploading holiday photos to staying in the social-media loop – your guests will be grateful for holiday accommodation with WiFi internet, and makes your property more appealing to potential visitors.
Setting up your holiday home as a convenient Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t a complicated task, and most devices come with built-in compatibility – which means your guests can easily connect without much set-up or technical know-how. It’s also secure, and because there aren’t any cables involved, guests aren’t forced to stay indoors. If you can make it easy and accessible, providing free Wi-Fi to holiday travellers can be a really valuable feature to your rental house.
What you’ll need for your Wi-Fi network
A wireless transmitter (or router) is going to be located in your holiday home, and will be your guests’ gateway to accessing the Internet. This is usually a box, or a “hub”, that’s connected to a phone-line and an electricity supply. You should also plug an Ethernet cable in to your router, which can be very helpful if your guests have trouble connecting wirelessly with their computers.
To get this up-and-running, you’ll need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) – who should provide any hardware you’ll need, including a router.
A Wi-Fi adapter (or receiver) is on the computer that will use wireless internet. Most of the time, this will be built-into the device your guests are using. The wireless transmitter in your holiday home will interact with the Wi-Fi adapter in the computer for your guests to connect to the internet.
Making Wi-Fi easily accessible to your guests
The Wi-Fi network should be set-up and fully functional prior to your guests’ arrival. Next to your Wi-Fi hub, there should always be a clear set of instructions outlining the necessary information your guests will need to connect to the internet.
1) The name of your wireless network, the username, and the password required to connect to Wi-Fi. This should be printed-off from a computer, or written-out in neat and readable handwriting. You can laminate and tape this to the router itself (if it is visible) or frame and hang this near a desk or table on which a laptop user would commonly sit.
2) All relevant instruction manuals (in English) that came with your Wi-Fi equipment. This will help your guest find specific information and try to solve any problems that may come up.
3) The name and contact details for the service provider (ISP) for direct technical help in English. Additionally, if you were the one who set the Wi-Fi network in your holiday home, you should also include your own contact details, since you’ll have a better understanding of the network. You may also consider setting your Wi-Fi connection to “open” – which means your guests won’t require a password or WEP key to access your Wi-Fi network. However, this would also mean anyone can connect and use your internet connection, so is not suitable for every rental.
4) Clearly labelling the power cord to the router/hub, so you can perform a “hard reset”.
5) Having an option to use the Ethernet cable if your guests have trouble making a wireless connection. As a handy alternative, an Ethernet cable plugged-in from the router can provide wired access to the internet.
The instructions should be clear and simple to follow, yet detailed enough for your guest to connect to Wi-Fi. Consider a set of instructions you’d prefer to read and follow along to, without having to call the ISP’s customer services help-line. Remember, if you’re abroad, you wouldn’t want to refer to a foreign technical-help department unless you can speak the language fluently.
The benefits of Internet-friendly holiday accommodation
Many people rely on internet technology, and understandably, it can be disappointing for those who don’t have the convenience and access to the internet during their stay. Providing Internet-enabled holiday accommodation means your guests can search for local travel information much faster, and helps them explore more holiday ideas. Additionally, travellers love to keep in touch with family and friends, check their email, interact on social media, and stream online-entertainment.
As Wi-Fi becomes more of an expectation to travellers around the world, providing holiday accommodation with Internet access will make your property more desirable to potential guests who are considering your holiday rental.
This post was written by Umar Khan – a travel blogger for HomeAway UK.
Today’s travellers are much more educated than their predecessors. The guarantee of sun and a sandy beach are no longer enough to guarantee a full year’s worth of bookings, and as a result, providing clear, concise information is a very important tool in the marketing of your property.
Selling a destination is increasingly about selling the culture, especially as we move away from ideals of “everything you could need, right on your doorstep” and towards more global ideas like “a great range of local markets, secluded beaches and traditional restaurants”, for example.
One of the best ways to gauge the interest of potential travellers, as well as gaining their trust is through previous guests comments. Guestbooks and guest reviews are one of the most valuable methods of closing a potential guest.
Although the thought of having reviews about your property can be daunting, they are actually a huge asset. Any perceived problem can be addressed by the owner quickly, and in doing so, you can actually further improve your properties appeal by appearing as a conscientious, caring and responsive owner.
Information is Key:
In a recent Mintel report, one in five holidaymakers said they didn’t want to cook or shop during their holiday. This has a huge impact on the self-catering market, but a little clearly displayed information on local restaurants, cafes and even more thought-provoking options like local cooking classes can settle potential guest’s reservations about self-catering holidays.