User Pays Internet AU

Case Study: User Pays Internet at Northwest Chocolate Festival

Check out an example of Paid Guest WiFi in action at The Northwest Chocolate Festival

The problem

Brian Cisneros is the Founder and Executive Producer of the scrumptious Northwest Chocolate Festival held annually in Seattle since 2008, to the delight of thousands of chocolate lovers and hundreds of exhibitors. They all travel from over 20 countries to the largest gathering of artisan chocolate makers in the world. 

Brian created his amazing event to support producers from around the globe to develop sustainable supply chains that enable artisans and people from across the chocolate industry to bring their products to market. 

More and more of his stallholders – but not all – were using mobile devices for their cashless transactions, meaning that the NW Chocolate Festival needed to get connected so those sellers could sell. The trouble was that the cost of providing vendor internet was not part of the original budget. It didn’t seem fair to increase stallholder fees, since not everyone needed internet access, but the increased cost of event internet needed to be met. NW Chocolate Festival first trialled a system of manually registering vendor devices on their production network, one at a time. This let them transfer the cost to the internet users directly. It worked, but it took a lot of labour to administer.

The solution

Brian partnered with PopUp WiFi to provide internet connectivity at 6 points spread across his event for production purposes, like registrations, ticket and merch sales. He discovered that he was using fewer than half of the connections on his existing network, so Brian added a Payment Gateway to enable his vendors to connect to his managed networks.

“We added the payment gateway for vendors after careful consideration of the options. In the past we walked the show floor and signed people up by hand for WiFi services and then provided a unique access code. PopUp WiFi solved this for us by easily allowing vendors to access the WiFi payment window on their mobile device and self-register for the WiFi service. This feature saved us hours of labor and staff time.”

The outcome

The internet service was smooth as that chocolate all those lucky attendees were buying. 61 stallholders purchased User Pays Guest WiFi netting $2,657. With their internet hire totalling $2,500, the income from the User Pays Guest WiFi network not only offset the costs of the event production internet but also made them a cool $157. And the stallholders only paid for the internet they needed, keeping costs down for everyone and increasing the accessibility of the event overall. Here’s what Brian had to say about the experience.

“With the payment window on our WiFi system we recovered 100% of the costs of the PopUp WiFi services and we generated a modest profit on the WiFi. Combined with the reduction in staff labor and the peace of mind that having a fully functioning WiFi system with tech support adds, we really feel that we came out far ahead with our WiFi system this year.”

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