The best things in life are free, especially when it’s WiFi.
I’ve just come back from six glorious weeks tripping around South America. I learned a few things whilst I was there, including:
- The coffee is terrible
- You must always carry your own stash of toilet paper and hand sanitiser with you
- A standard shot in South America is equal to five standard shots back home so perhaps that third Caipirinha is not a good idea
- Turns out guinea pigs are not pets, they’re food, and apparently very tasty (I cannot confirm this)
- There is free WiFi everywhere and I mean everywhere.
As soon as I landed back home my nostrils flared, seeking out the smell of Campos Coffee (the best in my humble opinion), and my fingers tapped away excitedly looking for the free WiFi connection, needless to say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
I was spoiled in South America, cafes, bars, restaurants, airports, retail stores, department stores, hotels, lifts…everywhere had WiFi and I was “loving it sick” (that’s what all the Gen-Y’ers say).
Since being home, I have found the free WiFi severely lacking. I have found connections which suck you in with the absence of a padlock, only to be disappointed when a login screen appears prompting your credit card details.
C’mon Aussie, c’mon, really? Why are we so behind the rest of the world? We are the most Facebook addicted country in the world, we create and consume rich content via social channels all. day. long. We look to our peers and those who have gone before us for tips and recommendations on where to go, what to do, what to eat, what to buy – everything!
Why don’t Aussie businesses get with the program and become the enabler, allowing consumers to tell your stories for you in real time and if Kelis’ milkshakes can bring more boys to her yard, I dare say say free WiFi could bring more customers to your tills.
Here’s three reasons I think free WiFi is the nuts:
- Content creation and sharing
Locals, travellers, drifters, whoever, all creating and sharing content on the spot in your location about their experiences with you, your products, your brand. If you have a good offering then imagine the possibilities.
Whilst I was on the trot I uploaded photos of food, wine, experiences and special moments, all tagged with the location of the bar, cafes, restaurant and shoe shop - you name it. I had likes, comments, shares, people vowing to book their next holiday to South America, all because of my content.
- Entertainment value
This is particularly useful for women who drag their partners shopping. One day, I subjected my hubby to nine hours of shopping with only two toilet breaks and lunch on the run. The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason, he was still talking to me at the end of the day was because in every single shop he could sit down and surf the net whilst I surfed the clothes racks.
Most importantly, he was also able to add value to my experience by checking the conversion rate in real time, searching for other stores nearby who might have a better sale price and planning the quickest route to the next shopping precinct.
- Information on the go
Everything at your fingertips – real time recommendations on bars and restaurants, shopping gems hidden away in the back streets, tips and tricks from other travellers, where to go, what to see, how to get there! We consumed this information via free WiFi and it helped shape each day making our experiences spontaneous, rich and exciting!
These are just some of the reasons I was very grateful for the free WiFi everywhere, it encouraged me to check in, take pictures and share, post status updates, tweet, comment about all the wonderful places we went to and the experiences we had. It kept my husband occupied whilst I spent his money. It kept me entertained whilst waiting for delayed flights and it kept us connected locally and globally, taking everyone with us on our amazing travels.
Now imagine if Aussie businesses offered this service to those to tourists who don’t have a local connection; to students who are too skint for a decent data plan; to those looking for a trendy café for business meetings; to shopping addicts who need the support of an unwilling stylist?
How much content would be created and shared about you and your brand? How many real time recommendations would be generated? How much more information would hit the airwaves? How much more money would this bring your business?
How many more questions can I ask in this post?
Just one, what’s it worth to you? Food for thought…
This a map of all the places in Sydney offering free WiFi, I cannot confirm whether or not it is reliable.