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Is WIFI Helping or Hurting Your Business?


By: Jeff Estes

Walk around any health club in America and you’ll see your members listening to their iPods and Smartphones. With the advent of high quality streaming music and entertainment options like Pandora, Netflix and other sites, more and more consumers are enjoying streaming entertainment on their portable electronic devices.

The availability of high quality content on the Internet and accessibility to this information via today’s modern smartphones and MP3 players are a huge benefit to the modern health club operator. In the past, you had to rely on facility television and overhead PA systems to “stream” entertainment to your members. Today, most members just walk in wearing headphones and are already happily entertained. No longer are you the entertainment director. The new problem in today’s market is that the members expect you to provide the access to this content via your wireless network.

If you’re not currently offering free guest WIFI Internet access in your facility, then you’re probably already aware of the demand from your guests to provide it. Most cellular phone providers charge premium prices for data plans and any chance that a member has to use WIFI will allow them to avoid using their limited data plans. This is where you provide value to the members.

If you’re a forward thinking club operator, then you’re probably already offering free guest WIFI to your members. The issue that you may not be aware of is that the “all you can drink” technology culture may be drinking more of your Internet bandwidth than you should allow.

Each customer that streams music or video to their electronic devices is, in most cases, “stealing” your available Internet bandwidth and you should spend some time looking into how you can better manage this.

ABC strongly recommends that you consider the negative impact that bandwidth sharing has on your primary Internet connection.

If you already meter or segregate your public and private networks for your wireless customers, then you are two steps ahead of your competitors.

If you are allowing your customers to surf your private network wirelessly from your facility then you should allow our Professional Services Consulting team to speak with you on this process. We can make recommendations about your existing setup and infrastructure to help you implement solutions that will meter or segregate your WIFI and data networks.