Location: South Padre, Texas
Industry: Management Group
Summary: While South Padre Island KOA’s location is part of the appeal of the resort, its urban setting comes with the challenge of substantial radio interference from neighbors, including a major U.S. Coast Guard base.
“It was a technological problem nobody could figure out,” -Tom Brooks, Resort Manager
Today’s consumers are increasingly dependent on mobile devices and, as a result, reliable guest WiFi has become an essential “utility” service for RV resorts and campgrounds. As the WiFi expectations of modern travelers soar, stakes are high for operators to get WiFi right.
At South Padre Island KOA, WiFi demands are particularly acute. Its guests are often young, technologically savvy adults and families. That are drawn to nearby attractions such as water parks and the many popular Gulf Coast beaches, but they expect to stay connected while traveling. So for the resort’s manager, Tom Brooks, offering a WiFi experience that meets guests’ expectations is crucial to his business—affecting occupancy and, ultimately, profitability.
While South Padre Island KOA’s convenient location is part of the appeal of the resort, its urban setting comes with the challenge of substantial radio interference from neighbors, including hotels, headquarters of the Cameron County Park System, and a major U.S. Coast Guard base. For years, the signal interference caused South Padre Island KOA guests to be repeatedly disconnected from the WiFi network.
“It was a nightmare,” said Brooks. “People were complaining all the time. My staff was almost to the point of being harassed.”
In fact, the problem was so severe—and so difficult to solve—that Brooks used three different WiFi service providers in eight years before TengoInternet finally solved the problem.
“It was a technological problem nobody could figure out,” Brooks said.
The Solution (It Takes Three):
WiFi service is like a three-legged stool, and all three legs are critical to a positive guest experience. The first leg is the ISP, companies such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable, which deliver internet access through telephone, cable or fiber optic lines. More bandwidth generally means a better guest WiFi experience. But the ISP isn’t the only factor for South Padre Island KOA, even a very fast 150M fiber line was not enough to solve its WiFi problems.
TengoInternet Wireless Solution That’s Mobile Friendly
It took the second leg of the stool–the WiFi equipment, or network–to solve the guest WiFi experience issues at South Padre Island KOA. A high-quality, well designed network will deliver strong and uninterrupted WiFi signals to guests despite trees or signal interference resulting from other electronic devices or nearby businesses and infrastructure.
Using a spectrum analyzer, TengoInternet’s engineers determined interference was the source of the WiFi problems at South Padre Island KOA and developed a design and technology solution to address it. The solution was a state-of-the-art network built on Ruckus access points and Ubiquiti back hauls. Unlike less sophisticated hardware, Ruckus network equipment quickly pinpoints the locations of the devices where its signals are needed and then transports its signals to those devices. While Ruckus network technology is expensive relative to competitors, it is far less susceptible to interference than other networks so it was key to the success of South Padre Island KOA’s network.
TengoInternet’s advanced network design created a mobile-friendly network. That means guests now enjoy property-wide, uninterrupted WiFi coverage on their mobile devices and don’t have to log in and out as they move throughout the resort. Because mobile devices have smaller antennas, more access points are necessary for a mobile-friendly network. At South Padre Island KOA, access points were added to the design to accommodate mobile devices’ weaker radio strength.
Support & Monitoring
The third critical component of hospitable WiFi is support and monitoring, including guest and staff support; technical troubleshooting and resolution; and usage monitoring and reporting. This is particularly important as guests turn to far-reaching online reviews and forums to vent their WiFi frustrations.
Even with a robust and stable network operating at fast internet speeds, guests will have technical questions and require support. Quickly responding to questions is an important part of a positive overall guest WiFi experience. Brooks chose to use TengoInternt’s 24/7 staff and guest support services. That means his staff focuses on what they do best, and leaves the technical WiFi assistance to TengoInternet’s team of experts.
TengoInternet also provides around-the-clock monitoring of the network. So, in the event the network goes down, its network operations center can immediately address the issue.
The combination of all three essential components of great WiFi: internet circuit (speed); network equipment; and support and monitoring are today adding up to a WiFI experience at South Padre Island KOA that is meeting expectations.
“There’s a lot less stress now,” Brooks said. “We’ve had it all in place for several months with only one complaint.”