Free Wifi How much should you offer?

We are strong supporters of accommodation businesses providing free Wifi for their guests. Anecdotal evidence strongly supports the fact that people use this as a key decision-making factor when selecting a property.

Your room rates may be a bit more expensive than your competitor’s down the road but people may still choose you if you offer free Wifi. They like something for nothing so it is very good PR that secures you business and happy clients!

But, there is a cost to you for offering this and we don’t think you should be fleeced by people abusing your free Wifi. Reasonable use by your guests is a reasonable expectation. It is not reasonable for them to spend their entire time downloading movies at your expense.

Most properties put a cap on the usage. So how much is reasonable?

We think about 50 – 250mb per day should do most people.

For example, Telecom quotes these figures at

Browsing and text-only emails 5MB per hour
Photos 1MB per photo
Online games 65MB per hour
Music 5MB per song download
Video clips 150MB per hour
Movies 1.2GB per movie.

It might be a bit light for some serious users but it is probably OK for most normal travellers who just want to check emails, check their Facebook page and browse for local information on the net. Offer a bit more (or free unlimited access) if it doesn’t cost you too much – but remember it comes off your bottom line.

After that offer a reasonably priced top-up option (or a discretionary free one).

But if offering top up vouchers please make sure they are for x Mb of use over a decent period, or x hours of use over a certain time. There is nothing worse than vouchers for additional hours that are only valid for continuous use from the start time. (eg 1 hr of continuous use from when you first log in)

Most reasonable users just want a little bit of time several times during their stay with you. Maybe an hour or two per day spread over their stay.

If you don’t want to, or cannot offer free Wifi, use a provider who is reasonably priced for your guests and offers 24 hours of use. Or who offer a fixed number of megabytes over any period anywhere (like Zenbu). Too many expensive properties are openly gouging customers for Internet access.

Let us know what you offer, what it costs you, and how it is received by customers and we will mention your business on our Google Plus page. Visit this page for New Zealand travel articles at Follow us or Plus 1 us or a post if you like what you see.