I am a smartphone junkie, travel addict and yes, a social media aficionado. I live in Northern Ireland so as a result, I have UK phone contract for phone calls and data. This covers all my needs while I am in the UK. For the most part, my call plan covers me reasonably well when I am traveling around Europe and I generally keep calls to minimum. The biggest annoyance I have when I travel is having to turn off my data roaming so as not to incur ridiculous charges in the hundreds of pounds/euros. As a result, I am often looking for free wifi around me.
While on a recent trip down to Dublin working on a shoot for HDNet’s World Report, it struck me that many of the tourist hotspots like the Guinness factory do not have free wifi access. Seems to me such venues are missing out on opportunities for free publicity. Most tourists coming from abroad, like me, will have their data roaming off, and will not necessarily wish to go through the whole process of registering for some paid wifi access. Those live images of a pint of Guinness being pulled will not be posted to Twitter or Instagram, and tourists will not be able to “check-in” on Facebook.
To give credit where credit is due, the new Titanic Signature Building in Belfast does provide easily accessible free wifi access throughout the building. This is a relatively inexpensive offering, and the kickback can be substantial as tourists and visitors from around the world tweet pictures of them there along with checking-in their Facebook status. This then gets shared across social media networks to great effect bringing the venue to life beyond its physical paramaters.
So, tourist venues, get on board and start providing free wifi access to visitors, you can only gain.