Opportunity for tourism
The more Wi-Fi expands, the more chances hotels have to reach out to consumers
If resorts have learned anything about social media, it’s that it can be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to publicize a property.
Good marketers who knows the ins and outs of websites such as Facebook and Twitter can develop strategies to generate tons of favorable comments and buzz.
Now, a group of wireless communications companies is trying to turn up the volume by offering new technology to increase Internet capabilities at properties. One strategy is to provide hardware that takes traditional indoor access points outside.
Jeff Lime, vice president of Ventev Wireless Infrastructure, recently unveiled outdoor enclosure systems for Wi-Fi access points. The company also offers systems that broaden wireless phone access indoors.
Ventev is the manufacturing division of Maryland-based TerraWave Solutions.
“We’re trying to make Wi-Fi more ubiquitous,” Lime said. “These days, it’s almost expected that you have Wi-Fi access.”
But outdoor Wi-Fi is different, primarily because companies typically don’t have equipment to protect panels and antennas.
An increasing number of Las Vegas properties use outdoor space for concerts and events. Think Mandalay Bay’s beach, the Strip’s day club pools, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Fremont Street Experience. Lime suggested yet another: the course of Zappos.com’s Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.
“What we’re finding is that there’s this explosion of Wi-Fi going outside, as well as the high need of cellular coming inside, and that intersection point is right in the sweet spot of where we play,” Lime said. “Our job is to think about all the use models and try to make it easier for our customers.”
Ventev also has worked on cruise ships, which are considered extremely challenging environments. Not only are they full of wave-blocking steel beams, they also come under a constant battery of corrosive salt water and air.
But the systems can pay off. When the Norwegian Cruise Line expanded wireless coverage to cover all of one of its ships, it saw revenue from the Internet cafe almost double during the busy season.
There are plenty of other nontourism applications for the technology, too. Wireless networks could cover college campuses, stadiums and even offshore oil platforms.
In Las Vegas, however, tourism is king. More Internet access simply means more of a pipeline for thousands of Twitter and Facebook users to deliver free positive spin to their friends.