A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about making your ski accommodation stand out from the crowd. As well as promoting accommodation, we also provide a place for in-resort businesses to freely promote their services, so I thought I would follow-up with a couple of examples where local businesses have found a way to differentiate their offering.
There are several local business sections on the Ski Lettings website, but the one that seems to have no shortage of competition is the airport transfer market and this is where I would like to introduce you to one particular company that is doing things a little differently.
Over the years, I have used the services of various transfer services and I really can’t tell one company from the next. In my experience, they all offer an almost identical service, so for me it was almost always a matter of pricing around and booking with who offered the best price.
That all changed a few months ago, when I read a short news snippet about alps2alps, a transfer service covering all the well known Alpine resorts from the major airports. What they have done is provide free WiFi on all of their transfers – perfect! I’ve just got off a flight, jumped into the minibus and now I have a couple of hours to kill as we travel to the resort. Data roaming on my mobile costs a fortune, so rather than rack up a hefty bill from my mobile provider and have their bill greet me on the doorstep when I return, I can piggyback off the alps2alps free WiFi. This will mean that I can spend those couple of hours emailing the folks back home to let them know that I’ve arrived safely, update my status on the social networks to let all my poor work colleagues know that I’m on holiday while they enjoy their commute to the office, perhaps check the latest weather forecasts or maybe just kill some time on YouTube. If I want to be super-efficient, I could even get started on my next blog post! Even on the return trip, the WiFi will let you check for flight delays and even check-in online.
I got in touch with Karlis Blums from SARL Amitours, the company behind alps2alps to find out more. Karl said “Our world is developing so rapidly and wi-fi connection seemed necessary for us. Usually transfers take at least 2 hours and the possibility to use internet during this time additional service for our clients. We have up to 15 minibuses equipped with wi-fi connection for upcoming season”.
If you’re wondering how it works, Karl is able to provide WiFi to his passengers by equipping each of his buses with a wireless router. The passengers are supplied with the name of the wireless network and the encryption key which they can enter into their phone, laptop, tablet etc. to get them online. Each router is then connected to the internet using 3G, similar to that used by most modern smartphones and is provided by a French mobile operator. While not as fast as the broadband that you might have at home or in the office, with a strong signal, 3G is capable (in theory) of around 1.5 – 2mb, so fine for surfing the web. No doubt, the speeds will be good in urban areas where the signal is strong, but we will have to wait and see how well it performs on the winding mountain roads.