How necessary is Wifi in a cabin rental?

27 Replies

My husband and I just closed on a cabin near Gatlinburg. There is no available Wifi service to the house, just satellite. We do have cell phone signal and my husband bought a cell booster to help ensure people have good signal from their phones. Do you think this will be a big deal breaker? Should we even buy satellite internet? 

Congratulations on your purchase, @Abigail Nittle !  My opinion is you don't need it - be VERY CLEAR in your listing (and in your confirmation message, and probably at least one other time) that there is no internet, it's an "away from it all" experience, and as long as you're up front about that, you're unlikely to have an issue.  The people who require internet will simply book elsewhere.

Satellite internet is awful, expensive, has data caps that get eaten quickly, and makes for unhappy guests.  Ask me how I know.  :p 

Thanks for responding, Julie, you said basically what I was hoping to hear :). It is on 4 acres so it has the perks and drawbacks of being secluded. This is just one of many roadblocks and decisions we've been facing so I'm sure I'll be posting on here again shortly! 

We have 3 airbnb spaces in our home and don't provide internet to guests. (no broadband available) and still get bookings. I do think we would have higher occupancy rates if we did have internet but it is what it is. We make it clear in our listings. Our cell service is sketchy too and some carriers don't work at all here just to add to the fun.

It's all about the marketing. As @Julie McCoy said, market it as a place to get away from it all. They'll either appreciate it for the seclusion or they will book elsewhere. 

Well based on my experience as a VA who took care of my clients rental businesses remotely, where my clients competitions has offered WIFI and their unit doesn't, it still filled with guests and keep generating. So, my answer to your question is, it's not that necessary. Just be specific and clear in your ad or in your description about it. It's always nice to be transparent so future guests won't expect much and not be disappointed. When they read your ad, at least they're aware of what you can only offer, so it's up to them to take it or leave it. 

I think some people are going to search for certain things like cable/satellite and internet. You would obviously do better with it. If you market it properly and make sure you are upfront about the lack of internet then you should be ok.

I had to get satellite internet for our lake house until DSL recently became available. Man was I glad when this was put into our area. Much faster and cheaper than Satellite internet.

Personally, I would like to have Wi-Fi.  And it seems, even tho people are going on "vacation" to 'get away' they're not totally disconnecting. I think many people would expect there to be wi-fi.  If you are not offering that, then I would say you need to make sure it is clear in the listing!

@Abigail Nittle My opinion is you definitely need it. Millennials like myself would pass on it simply because they don’t know how to function without it. As well you’ll lose people hoping to do a ‘working my vacation’ where they work remotely Friday and then vacation the weekend.

Originally posted by @John Underwood :

I think some people are going to search for certain things like cable/satellite and internet. You would obviously do better with it. If you market it properly and make sure you are upfront about the lack of internet then you should be ok.

I had to get satellite internet for our lake house until DSL recently became available. Man was I glad when this was put into our area. Much faster and cheaper than Satellite internet.

Yeah, I went from satellite (the WORST) to DSL (not great but somewhat improved) and basically threw a party when Spectrum wired up the area for cable internet, LOL, game-changer!!! (for me personally, at least - I spent a lot of time at that property and the poor internet made me *insane*) 

@Julie McCoy

I couldn’t disagree more. I have a cabin rental in Minnesota and you wouldn’t believe how strongly my guests want WiFi and Netflix. It’s like a drug or a coffee fix.

Originally posted by @Marcus Johnson :

@Julie McCoy

I couldn’t disagree more. I have a cabin rental in Minnesota and you wouldn’t believe how strongly my guests want WiFi and Netflix. It’s like a drug or a coffee fix.

If you advertised your cabin as not having it, those people wouldn't book with you.  Of course it's something the majority of people want, but in my market (which is the market the OP is in) you can absolutely have a successful property without it - like @Avery Carl does.  I've been in her property and know her numbers, believe me, it's not hurting her one bit.

I don't think you need it. We travel a lot with our camper and even when there is Wifi it's slow. We use our hotspot on our phone instead. Just be upfront about it so that people aren't calling and complaining or giving you bad reviews about it. I think you'll find a certain percentage of people that are HAPPY you don't have it. A good way to unplug and spend time with the family.

I would never book a cabin in the woods without wifi. You can't count on cell service because it is very carrier dependent. Your service may work, but another carrier may be dark there. As others said be very clear that there is no wifi and make NO promises about cell service. 

@Abigail Nittle I agree that we use our mobile hotspot for WiFi when on vacation. I would maybe mention the nearest wifi to the cabin in your ad. Some people may take comfort In knowing that they can drive 30 min to the nearest town to do a few hour of work in the middle of the week if necessary.

@Abigail Nittle  On vacation in the West near national parks, I stayed at more than one place that did not have WIFI or cell service or cable tv.  I never minded when it was stated up front and made clear in the listing, but was very, very annoyed when I was surprised to learn about it after I got there.   

I agree with @James Legall that it would be good to try without adding anything you don't have, be clear about it, and then add services later if you find you need to.

Good luck!

@Abigail Nittle

My only addition to what’s been said is the huge advantage of a remote location to add “smart” features like thermostat and WiFi door locks that allow you to manage the space at a distance. I have a cabin I rent out that is relatively remote but have found the smart features worth the WiFi. I don’t have cable or even a tv.

@Abigail Nittle . We found out our cabin near Pigeon Forge only had satellite WiFi while we were in escrow. We ended up finding a local company that offers high speed WiFi in some areas there that otherwise would not have it. We paid to have a commercial grade system put in. I’m not sure if it helps or not, but personally I want and need WIFI even on vacation. I’m happy to share their information with you to see if they service your area.

I think you are fine either way as long as your guests know there is no WiFi going in.

Good luck with your new cabin!

@Abigail Nittle . If you get cell service then you can have decent internet and sometimes high speed. Spend some time on the RV internet forums and contact LTEFix (google it all). My Verizon unlimited at 20+ MBs is $40 a month and my ATT unlimited is $23 a month. The upfront cost is the the cradlepoint modem, router and antenna ($350-$500) but then it is all on autopay and the cradlepoint can be programmed to reboot everynight to solve most issues. Then you can easily program door codes and install a security camera if you choose.