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What if I don't have internet for my guests?

I’m in a rural location so my internet is broadband with limited data. I caution guests that they cannot stream music or videos because I will incur expensive overage charges yet they do it anyway. Lately I’ve been thinking why should I supply wireless when people can just use their phones?

I am set up so guests cannot stay more than 4 nights, most are only here for the weekend. I do have Dish TV and supply many board games.

By and large my guests are here to wine taste and dine out. Do they really need me to supply them with internet access in this age of smart phones?

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You could have an additional charge for WiFi that will cover your overages (no password until the guest pays).

Or you could just not provide WiFi at all and spin it as a way for guests to “unplug”.

Just as an example, my wife and kids and I used to visit some of my extended family in rural Missouri where there was no internet OR mobile phone coverage. My wife and kids loved it because it forced them to do other things. Now that we can get mobile phone service there, it’s just not the same.

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They might not be on a plan, so smart phone or not , some will need your Internet. That’s not realistic to expect guests to not need Infernet , 4 days or less, noone can stay without internet that long.

They would see when they book that there is no internet so the choice would be theirs. It’s not like I would spring it on them when they arrive.

As Brian said there are many places without internet and some how people survive.

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Any utility that is scarce, expensive or risks overage charges should be restricted with an explanation of why. You can get a router that will do that for you and it wouldn’t probably be very expensive but you’ll get complaints. The data access isn’t just about entertainment. For me as an airbnb host, its my livelihood. If I can’t be online, I have to block off my calendar. Its only a few minutes here and a few minutes there when I need to be online, but I need to be reliable and be available.

Internet is one amenity you can’t do without on Airbnb. You’re going to get a lot of complaints if you don’t have fast, unlimited Internet. Its the first thing many guests ask for. The cellular service providers have people addicted to wifi because instead of offering unlimited data, they give you unlimited hotspot access. The cellular service sales people even make pitches about how you only need 2 GB if you have wifi at home.

I use an unlimited cellular data plan so I don’t even use my own wifi at home. Its just for guests. If you have 4G LTE service but limited broadband, my suggestion would be to get the same sort of plan (T-Mobile Freedom $70/month) and just do a wifi tethering and give that to guests to use. If you want to avoid tethering data slow downs, you can use an app called PdaNet+ to hide tethering usage over a USB tether to a USB and then you can do Windows Internet Connection sharing to share that connection over wifi.

If there’s no decent cellular or broadband, microwave or infrared might be an option depending on where you are and what the climate is like.

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There are 2 solutions:

  1. No WiFi. A lot of people have free internet on their phones, and if it is clear before they book it is no problem.

  2. Invest in a “hotspot” system. Guest get a voucher for their internet acces. You can set limits to amounts and speeds. You can give guests an x amount for free, if they want more, they can buy it.

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I cannot agree with @Yana and others who said in essence

“…not realistic to expect guests to not need Internet… no one can stay without internet that long.”

That bit in bold is just not true. Humans have lived successfully for hundreds of thousands of years without Internet access, and with the World WIde Web for less than 30 years. If it is true, you really don’t want that kind of guest.

You, personally, as an Air Host need Internet access , true. Guests do not. They may want it but they do not need it.

I don’t see how you could surcharge for Internet and not give access until they pay up… not through the Air system, anyway.

My suggestion is to not provide any connectivity, and make that an amenity – getting away from it all, unplugging, getting back to nature… whatever.

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I don’t even have regular phone service as I communicate only through internet. When I am away it’s important for me to stay connected with my family. As a host you can offer what you want but you will have unhappy campers. To tell people to unwind and get away from it all …and forget about technology for a second is quite silly

You do not have to go trough the AirBnB system.

When you have a route with HotSpot funktion, the guest will be directed to a landing page.
The guests enters the provided voucher code and he can surf.

If he used up al his data, he will end up on the landing page. The guest can then choose to buy more data, and can choose how to pay for it (PayPal, Creditcard or others).

Attached is how my wifi software could handle it.
My guests do not pay, because I have unlimited data, but it is easy to setup, if I want to.

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I think what @Bunny is saying is that the only internet service available is via a mobile hotspot device which is effectively just a 4G LTE phone inside a small box that lets other devices connect to it with WiFi. The service is really expensive, and it’s the exact same service that guests would already have on their phones with data plans, which any guest that needs internet would already have.

There are probably people that would not book because no WiFi is available, but if they know that the data on their their phones will work, I bet the number of people that still won’t book is really low.

Well, guests expect to have internet. It’s kind of standard nowadays. As essential as hot water or fridge or microwave. Sure, one can take a cold shower, eat what he cooks and heat their food on the stove but is it convenient or pleasant? probably not.

Guests can’t rely on their data plan to watch Netflix/amazon movies on their phones/tablets/laptops. Even if during the day they do tourist stuff, at night perhaps they want to read the emails or have a glass of wine and watch a movie. So they need a wifi, host’s wifi. Perhaps they don;t like to play board games. I personally can’t stand them. Not having WI-FI it would be a deal breaker for me.

Asking them to pay … hm… i would not book you.

You will probably attract only people who don’t want to be connected to the internet on purpose or older crowds who are not internet savvy.

Also I don’t care for DISH network. I care about the series or my list of movies I want to watch on Netflix/Amazon. I ditched cable 15 years ago. Who in this day and age watches this type of TV anymore when we have streaming?

If I were you I’d ditch the DISH and get the satellite internet for your guests.

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Food for thought:

  1. Either advertise as a place to unwind & unplug and don’t offer internet access. People can then rely on their phone data plans IF their cellular provider provides service in that location.

To reinforce the unwind & unplug aspect, suggest that guests who need to remain cell phone connected verify with their cellular service provider your area is covered.

  1. Offer & clearly advertise “business class” WiFi which has adequate speed & offers enough to check email and connect to work remotely. However it is too restrictive (speed & gigs available) to support streaming services like Netflix & streaming short videos like Youtube. HOWEVER expect people to try to stream entertainment regardless then they will complain.

Personal note: I have an 85 year old father so I wouldn’t want to stay where I can be connected at least by phone service in case of emergency. Not long ago, I was very surprised when I was in a section of Chapel Hill, NC, USA NOT covered by my cellular service so I’ve learned to check.

For those of you that are acting like high-speed Internet is a god-given right and you will only be happy watching exactly what you want to watch when you want - not everywhere in the world is like a large urban area in a well-developed country.

We are in St Lucia in a rural area, and our internet is supplied by wires running up the hill on the ground or thrown into tree branches. It’s fast enough (when it works, which is about 98% of the time) to check email and watch low-def YouTube videos. Streaming NetFlix? No way.
I list “slow internet with occasional outages” as a limitation on our listing. But we have cable TV (gasp! The horror!) and two tall bookcases full of almost 2000 movies. People come to our home to relax, do outdoor activities, enjoy the view, and watch for shooting stars in the Milky Way. Sometimes, they watch a movie or a sporting event. They’ve all survived just fine and have given us five-star reviews.

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Unless you live a life where you have the luxury of only logging on once per day to check your email.

If you want to get ahead in life today, you need every advantage you can get because its very competitive. Jobs, real-estate, business, anything - you gotta be online and ready to communicate. If you’ve already built your career and life through the past decades, maybe you can forego being online but saying that other people can and should do that makes you look out of touch.

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I go crazy if the internet is down for one single minute and I always check the internet availability wherever we go.

BUT…

In addition to our own rentals, I looked after an apartment for a neighbour. It was his second home and only used every so often so he decided that Airbnb was a good idea. The apartment did not have internet and my neighbour was reluctant to add to his monthly outgoings.

He had no problem getting guests and he received 5 star reviews. When people enquired, I would also point out the lack of internet just to be sure they had read.

This being said, we are in a high-tourism area where people spend their time out and about. (We sometimes have guests who never once turn on the TV during their stay - I imagine that’s unusual for the US). Also we have a diner, a cafe, a Starbucks etc. and various other places not too far away where the guests can use the internet if they wish.

You know your area and your guests better than any of us here do, but I’d say go for it. If it doesn’t work out then you can always go back to supplying wifi for your guests.

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without internet access, how is it possible to to do ‘best practices’ and put all messaging thru the airbnb app? Yes, thru cell, but still people would have to decide on their cell usage…

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You may need to post it twice and in the rules. But it’s rural. I really like the idea of an up charge.

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I had the same thought as Rolf. If you have no wi-fi (and recognize some guests won’t have cellular data) how do you keep an open line of communication with guests?

Leave a signal flare gun on the property but make sure to disclose it!

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More food for thought—is a business offering wi-fi connection close by (e. g. Starbucks or McDonald’s cafe)? Cell phone service or land line service available? If yes to these—voice call guests if communication is needed during their stay and document conversations on Airbnb. Then tell guests of local businesses offering free WiFi. Don’t offer WiFi at your rental.

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