March 5 2015 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The boss of EDP Top100 firm Hoseasons has hailed the trialling of free wi-fi on hire boats as “the most exciting development on the Broads for a long time”.
Stalham-based Richardson’s - the biggest hire boat operator - is offering all its boating customers free onboard wi-fi this season while Norfolk Broads Direct at Wroxham is conducting a more limited trial.
Hoseasons managing-director Simon Altham said: “We made a rallying cry last year for companies to bring in wi-fi and it is great to see the response.”
He said wi-fi would attract a new generation to boating and added that there was gathering momentum in the sector.
Richardson’s CEO Greg Munford said this year’s trial, costing £25,000, would gauge customers’ appetite and look at any technical difficulties - for example it depended on Vodaphone reception.
He said: “We are continually enhancing the customer experience; building and developing state of the art cruisers, improving marina facilities, and wi-fi just seemed like the next enhancement.
“Most people are reliant on the internet these days whether for work, fun or research.”
Barbara Greasley, a director of Norfolk Broads Direct, said: “We know that these days people need to stay in touch with their work, family and friends via email and of course our younger visitors need to keep in touch with their peers via Facebook or Snapchat etc.
“We have therefore made free wi-fi available on selected boats in our fleet from this spring via 3G mobile broadband routers that plug into the onboard 240V sockets.
“The first family who trialled the system for us reported that they had good coverage wherever they moored up, but when navigating the signal wasn’t so good.”
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.