If you own or manage a property that is available to let for holidays or listed on Airbnb for short-term stays, it’s likely that your guests have an important expectation: connectivity. Is the holiday home connected to the internet, and does it have fast wireless broadband?
Choosing the right broadband package and setting up a router can have a positive impact on your guests. It’s an attractive option, and if the connection is fast and set up correctly, it can make all the difference between a good online review for your property – and an excellent one.
This guide will explain all you need to know about setting up Airbnb Wi-Fi or broadband in a holiday let.
Considerations for Airbnb Wi-Fi or broadband
Your choice of broadband package will depend on several key factors:
- what your guests will be doing online
- the number of guests the accommodation can hold
- their expectations of the broadband speed based on the price you set.
what your guests will be doing online
In most cases, guests will be out throughout the day. When they’re home, most time is likely to be spent surfing the web for trip destinations. So, top internet speeds would be overkill. Instead, whatever broadband package you can get to suit standard internet use should suffice.
the number of guests the accommodation can hold
But there is a curveball. The larger the accommodation and the more people it serves, the greater the internet bandwidth required. Fibre internet is best for a family or larger collection of guests. If you cater to large groups attending for a weekend of parties, super-fast fibre internet makes the most sense.
Additionally, many Airbnb hosts are now offering streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. These have their own minimum speed requirements, so if you offer such benefits, don’t forget to take them into account.
Your guests’ expectations
When it comes to data, opt for unlimited. There is no way to predict how much is going to be used by guests. It’s better to have too much data than not enough and leave your guests having to rely on their mobile phones.
What sort of connection? Pros and cons
Selecting the right connection for your property will depend heavily on the location and what connectivity is available. Broadly speaking, there are three main options:
- fibre optic
- mobile broadband.
ADSL: ADSL internet is the standard connection, utilising telephone lines on the Openreach network. ADSL packages can be subscribed to via BT or the various other ISPs, from Vodafone and EE to TalkTalk, Sky, etc. ADSL speeds are typically around 10Mbps, enough for basic surfing and streaming video, but not fast enough for handling the demands of more than a couple of users at once.
Fibre optic: Fibre internet is available on the Openreach network and on Virgin Media. Speeds start around 36Mbps and go all the way to 1000Mbps (and in some cases beyond). If you expect guests at your let or Airbnb to be streaming video (UK weather remains unpredictable) or you are hosting lots of people, this is a smart option to consider where available. For more information or to compare fibre deals, Broadband Genie has a guide to fibre broadband.
Mobile broadband: Mobile broadband is a relatively new concept for properties. It’s ideal for places where connectivity is poor and laying new cables impractical, requiring just a 4G or 5G-ready mobile internet router. However, like mobile phone packages, mobile broadband is often available with quite low usage caps. It’s best to avoid these and opt for the unlimited packages which have a similar price point to fibre broadband, with average speeds of 150Mbps available.
Broadband in rural locations
Rural broadband continues to lag behind suburban and metropolitan areas. This presents a specific challenge in providing internet access to your guests.
In many cases, this is going to mean that where internet access is available, speeds are low – less than the 10Mbps of standard ADSL. This can make even the most basic browsing impossible.
Although mobile broadband is an option for small rural towns, it may not be the same speed as suburban 4G and 5G. Once you consider the shape of the landscape and the location of the property, it might be the case that mobile broadband is not an option.
Grouping together with other businesses is an option, however. This is a strategy that has been used in various rural locations, enabling villages and remote locations to petition for internet connectivity. While this could be ADSL or fibre broadband, it could also mean that satellite internet is the best fit.
Satellite broadband is ideal for the most remote locations as it can work just about anywhere. But it can be expensive to install and run, so if you have neighbours in the same predicament then teaming up for a unified approach might be the smartest option.
Setting up the router
With the property connected to the internet, you’ll need to configure the router. This should ensure that access to the internet is secure and safe, not only for the next guests but for all those that follow.
Strong passwords: Protect the router’s admin control panel with a strong, unique password. Check the router documentation for steps on how to change the default password. You should also set a unique password for the Airbnb WiFi network. But remember that WiFi can be accessed from outside the property, so consider whether you should get into the habit of changing this regularly to prevent unauthorised access.
Set up a guest network: Guest WiFi provides visitors with their own segment of the network. They can get on the internet, but will not be able to access shared devices. While not everyone will need this, it is important if you are living in the property and sharing your own broadband. Enable this feature in your router’s admin control panel.
Secure the router: Ensure that the router is locked away to avoid physical tampering. Routers can be vulnerable to resets, booting from USB devices, and other risks. A guest misusing the router could put all future guests at financial risk or privacy breach.Boosting the signal: Weak Airbnb WiFi signal could lead to complaints from guests, so spend some time checking that your router provides adequate coverage around the home. Check the signal in each room using a laptop or your smartphone. Areas of a weak signal can be fixed with cheap wireless boosters. Locations without any signal can be reached with powerline network adapters that send data across electrical circuits to effortlessly create a wired network.