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WiFi: a real opportunity for towns! While on holiday, 34% of French people make free WiFi their top criterion in choosing a hotel. In the summer, just as during the rest of the year, WiFi is more than ever before a top concern for people, a symptom of our ultra-connected society. For towns, WiFi can be a real opportunity.


Free Wi-Fi, the top criterion when choosing a hotel

Holidays do not mean going on a digital detox: the French are just as addicted to connectivity in the summer as they are the rest of the year. Indeed, 68% of French people say they are willing to view advertisements in exchange for free WiFi. One factor behind this is that as soon as you leave a city, 3G and 4G networks become harder to find or are completely saturated. Network coverage is often provided by one dominant carrier and when a network is present, often the speed is not great.

And yet, today, for one in two French people, it is difficult or even impossible to imagine going on holiday in France without an Internet connection. Indeed, the availability of a network allowing you to browse the Internet or use mobile apps is a factor taken into account by one in two French people (two in three for French people under 25 years old) when choosing a final holiday destination, according to a Kantar study.


Wi-Fi making towns more attractive

With habits increasingly centred on digital technology, towns have a real interest in deploying or improving their connectivity offerings, presenting real added value, to boost their attractiveness and modernise their image. It comes down to tourism… and thus the economy.

When offering free WiFi, the Internet connection portal actually gives special access to user data, which can be valuable for tailoring municipal offerings and services and for improving the user experience. For example, data from free WiFi can be used to personalise interfaces to the language of the user, as well as serve as a personal assistant to help navigate the town, like a tour guide, version 2.0.


This transformation of towns using WiFi is particularly crucial in today’s context, with urban planning being reshaped in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. As part of this, more and more stadiums are becoming connected and user experiences are all moving toward a key characteristic: immersion. In the world of WiFi and digital technology, immersion is the most important driver of engagement. Free WiFi can open the door to promoting more interesting features, like services tied to the sports world: online betting, immersive replays that let users relive the game in the shoes of a player, etc. Event venues can use things like jukeboxes or interactive walls to capitalise on the event to provide content that engages the user, then analyse the user to better understand them and gain their loyalty.


Today, staying connected, even while on holiday, is so important that a ranking of the most ‘Internet-friendly’ destinations is now available to help holidaymakers choose where to go. Indeed, according to a recent study, 85% of holidaymakers say that a good Internet connection is an undeniable tourism advantage for a town! It is now up to towns to take notice and transform their WiFi into added value.