Whilst many hospitality businesses can rely on established connectivity infrastructure, the remote locations that make many holiday and caravan parks so alluring also means that innovative thinking is needed. Many campsite and caravan park operators feel the need to provide better connectivity and meet seasonal demand whilst being conscious of the budget.
AS ONE OF THE TOP HOLIDAY PARKS IN THE SOUTH WEST, Pentewan Sands has all the amenities you would expect for the perfect seaside weekend. However, this has not always extended to providing connectivity for their guests. Interest in domestic staycations has ballooned, with Mintel reporting that 4.5 million people in Britain took their first camping holiday between 2020 and 2022, spending £1.5 billion in 2020 and £2.7 billion in 2021. As holiday parks and campsites meet the expectations of new guests, providing robust connectivity is critical both to provide a great guest experience and open up new commercial opportunities, capturing a greater share of this increased spending.The situation at Pentewan Sands was even more critical; located in the middle of a valley on the Cornish coastline, guests found it impossible to get any phone signal. This meant that in order to stay in touch with family and friends, get online for work or upload holiday pictures, guests needed a robust Wi-Fi connection. The location of Pentewan Sands also created one more challenge; the occasionally wild weather coming in from the United Kingdom’s Atlantic coast meant it was essential that any equipment installed on the site could withstand the changeable and sometimes harsh conditions.
Whilst many hospitality businesses can rely on established connectivity infrastructure, the remote locations that make many holiday and caravan parks so alluring also means that innovative thinking is needed. Legacy systems are unable to support new digital park management solutions or deliver a reliable connection capable of supporting multiple devices. As such, many campsite and caravan park operators feel the need to provide better connectivity and meet seasonal demand whilst being conscious of the budget
INITIALLY THE COVERAGE OF THE PENTEWAN SANDS SITE was almost non-existent, with only the park’s reception and restaurant area covered by a domestic internet service. Providing internet connectivity as a service to guests was not a priority, and it was hindering the running of the park at times too; payments are sometimes made via PayPal, making internet access crucial. The initial system was then upgraded to a Unify solution with the hope of improving the guest experience and helping to generate new revenue on the park. Whilst this did help to improve the amount of coverage across the Pentewan Sands site, the connection was unreliable, and issues with the network would be difficult to troubleshoot. With it being such a remote location, these repeated network issues became a real issue and a significant drain on the time of the Wifi Solutions Ltd team. It also became apparent that the equipment needed to be properly designed for everything that was being thrown at it. Cracks and gaps in equipment would become home for spiders and other creepy crawlies, or otherwise let in the infamous sideways rain that can often be found on the Cornish coast.
IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE CONNECTIVITY AT PENTEWAN SANDS, Wifi Solutions Ltd knew that they needed a more robust solution. The aim was to rid the network of the issues it was having so that the staff at Pentewan Sands and Wifi Solutions Ltd did not have to spend so much time dealing with complaints or trying to troubleshoot. As soon as the Cambium Networks equipment was installed, there was an immediate drop in the number of network errors and complaints that the team were dealing with. Not only was the equipment easier to configure, but the cnMaestro management solution meant that the Wifi Solutions Ltd team could fix any network issues far easier, massively reducing the cost of running the network and improving the profitability of doing so. Not only that, but the service offered by the Cambium Networks team was exemplary. Available whenever Wifi Solutions Ltd needed them, the team was on hand to offer advice even when the problem was not necessarily to do with the Cambium Networks equipment. This is crucially important at a site like Pentewan Sands where it is remote and difficult to access. When things go wrong, Wifi Solutions Ltd found that they could get the support they needed from Cambium Networks, ensuring that the time they spent fixing issues was done so efficiently.
THE PENTEWAN SANDS CAMPSITE IS NOW SUPPORTED by a gigabit connection, with the network capable of supporting 1,000 users at any one time with a 50 Mbps connection. In an area where there was previously no mobile signal, guests are now able to conduct VOIP calls with family and friends, which has made a massive difference to guest satisfaction. On top of that, the network is able to support any number of other online activities guests need, from making video calls for work to online gaming. It has also made a significant difference to the life of seasonal onsite staff, who had previously been struggled to get online all summer whilst they were working at the campsite.
The performance and stability of the network has vastly improved, which has resulted in far fewer complaints. Since installing Cambium Networks equipment, 100 percent of access point-associated errors have been eradicated. The support calls the team do receive are typically attributed to forgotten Wi-Fi passwords, customer device errors or requests for support setting up game consoles or streaming devices. Wifi Solutions Ltd conducts their own guest experience surveys for the customers that use the onsite Wi-Fi, with a complaint ratio of less than 4 percent. The team has gone from fielding as many as 30 phone calls a day to one or two on busy changeover days, when the previous week’s guests leave, and new ones arrive and set up. This improved satisfaction is reflected in comments made by guests of Pentewan Sands.
Scott Miles, a regular visitor to the park said, “This year we have noticed a big improvement in connection reliability, coverage throughout the park and just speed in general, which in turn meant happier kids which then equals happy parents!” In a similar vein, Jason Bates said, “We have found over the last 12 months that the Wi-Fi on site has been much improved with no dropouts. More importantly, our two teenage children are much happier with the speed and can FaceTime friends back at home with no problems. I have also found working from the site much easier and am able to hold team meetings with ease.”
Coverage now stretches to 95 percent of the site, excluding a wooded area which is reserved for people who want a less digitally enabled visit. The purpose-built outdoor equipment from Cambium Networks with its sealed glands means that neither the weather nor local creepy crawlies now pose an issue to Wifi Solutions Ltd.