Home – New Forums Other discussions Offering free wifi next door to backpackers – bad idea?

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  • #987423
    TheGoldenGoose
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    My client has a new cafe.

    I’m urging them to do free wifi as it would be attractive for business owners.. but they are next door to a backpackers so they don’t want to go there.

    Are there any techy ways/limits they can impose to still offer the free wifi without being the local hangout for backpackers? Buying something isn’t enough (eg they buy a single coffee and sit there all day)..

    #1162627
    John C.
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    Hi Leah,

    It’s a valid concern, as not having any security and limits in place could slow down your friend’s internet, put her private information at risk and even cost them in excess bandwidth charges (depending on their internet plan).

    The good news is that there are lots of ways to implement good security and limits. Of course the best way depends on your friends unique setup, budget and experience.

    One of the best solutions I’ve seen involves setting up a gateway and ticket printer such as the Zyxel N4100 – which allows you to limit bandwidth (stop people downloading large movies, while still allowing them to browse the internet and check emails) and implement total security of your local network. The printer allows you to issue a unique time-limited access password for each customer, or even charge a fee for internet use.

    It’s possible that some limits and security can be implemented with their current hardware, but it really depends on what they have.

    Cheers,
    John

    #1162628
    John C.
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    I just realised that I didn’t really answer your original question! I guess we sometimes look at things from our own perspective, and as a tech guy, I automatically jumped to offering a tech solution. :)

    So to answer you original question “is offering free wifi next door to a backpackers a bad idea?”. It can be… but it can also be a great opportunity.

    Opening up the wifi network using the cafe’s current hardware, with no limits etc, can obviously cause the problems I highlighted in my previous post. You don’t want someone buying a $3 coffee and using $90 worth of internet! But, your friend could run a promotion whereby every customer gets 15 minutes of free internet with every purchase over $5. Now, those pesky Backpackers have an incentive to not only visit the cafe, but to buy something every 15 minutes. You could potentially attract customers who would otherwise kept on walking, which I believe is the aim of opening a retail business :)

    Using hardware like the one I linked to previously, promotions such as this are fairly straight forward to setup. You just need to come up with the rules that match your business model and get someone to program the hardware.

    Cheers,
    John

    #1162629
    Stuart B
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    They get a code after they buy something, but the free wifi can time out after 1 hour or something. After which they need another code / purchase.

    #1162630
    TheGoldenGoose
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    Fantastic answers – thanks all! I have directed my client to this post to have a read over when she gets a chance :)

    #1162631
    Johny
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    Interesting question, and I don’t ant to put a dampener on it, but one thing that I wonder about with this is how they would advertise this.

    For example, if they advertise free wifi, but then place limits on it such as having to buy something etc, does this then constitute “bait advertising”.

    I don’t know the answer, but think it is something that they may also need to consider and maybe there is someone here who can offer an informed opinion.

    #1162632
    John C.
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    Johny, post: 188054 wrote:
    Interesting question, and I don’t ant to put a dampener on it, but one thing that I wonder about with this is how they would advertise this.

    For example, if they advertise free wifi, but then place limits on it such as having to buy something etc, does this then constitute “bait advertising”.

    I don’t know the answer, but think it is something that they may also need to consider and maybe there is someone here who can offer an informed opinion.

    Hi Johny,

    It’s only considered “bait advertising” when the product or service you are advertising doesn’t, or is unlikely to exist – i.e. much like a department store who advertises amazing discounts on a product but only has one or two of those items in the store (unless they say that only the first one or two customers will receive the discount).

    If you’re honest and up front about the offer – i.e. “Spend $5, and receive 15 minutes of free WiFi” – there is nothing misleading or dishonest and no potential to be caught out in a legal sense.

    Cheers,
    John

    #1162633
    Stuart B
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    You could just say “free wifi for customers” or something like that.

    #1162634
    bridiej
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    Octopus Labs, post: 188035 wrote:
    They get a code after they buy something, but the free wifi can time out after 1 hour or something. After which they need another code / purchase.

    Agree, this is what cafes here tend to do…

    #1162635
    Johny
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    Hi John,

    Yeah it was just a thought of something to be conscious of.

    Where I am, it is not unusual to get 22 people lob into the café, order one coffee between them and sit there using the wifi. That is of course if they aren’t using it as a bed and breakfast, with the emphasis on bed.

    So I understand the concern.

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