A major consolidation of the wireless Internet or Wi-Fi business has taken place this month with TengoInternet Inc. announcing that it has acquired NomadISP, its former Wi-Fi rival in the outdoor hospitality industry.
The acquisition combines NomadISP’s 300 plus campground customers with TengoInternet’s 450 private park customers, making TengoInternet the largest high-speed Wi-Fi service provider in the private park sector.
“I think the acquisition is going to work out very well,” said Kelly Hogan, president and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based LinOra Inc., after selling the company’s NomadISP subsidiary to Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet.
While NomadISP has always marketed itself as a full service Wi-Fi provider, Hogan said the company’s biggest strength has been in the manufacturing of state-of-the-art Wi-Fi equipment, including routers and access points or “hot spots”
“We’ve always written our own software and built our own access points,” Hogan said. “Because of that, we have offered a more fine tuned Wi-Fi solution for the outdoor hospitality industry.”
So while TengoInternet has acquired NomadISP’s campground industry customers as well as the NomadISP brand name, Hogan will continue to independently operate his Wi-Fi equipment manufacturing business, which he now operates through a separate LinOra subsidiary called BlueMesh Networks.
TengoInternet, for its part, has excelled in the marketing and customer service arenas and has purchased whatever Wi-Fi equipment has needed from different suppliers, including NomadISP. “Over the last year, it became apparent to TengoInternet that NomadISP’s equipment offers an advantage for campgrounds and RV parks,” said Eric Stumberg, TengoInternet’s president and CEO. “To provide the best equipment to our customers, TengoInternet entered into a strategic alliance to resell LinOra’s BlueMesh Networks’ Wi-Fi hardware products.”
“I think our new business relationship is going to work out very well,” Hogan said. “TengoInternet will be our largest customer, while we at BlueMesh will continue to do research and development to further improve our Wi-Fi systems.”
Stumberg said campground and RV park customers of NomadISP should receive improved customer service from TengoInternet, which offers live 24/7 customer support to consumers. TengoInternet also offers onsite support and dedicated phone support for campground staffers who have Wi-Fi related questions between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time.
In addition, TengoInternet provides its campground customers with user guides and other collateral that they can keep on hand at their front desk for guests who need help using Wi-Fi. “Our goal is to minimize distractions related to Wi-Fi at the front desk,” Stumberg said.
TengoInternet continues to experience growth in Wi-Fi equipment sales and installations and now managing network services. “The big challenge people are experiencing now is managing bandwidth and guest experience,” Stumberg said. “With Voice Over IP service applications like Skype and Magic Jack, the Wi-Fi networks have to accommodate huge demand and expectations. Our managed bandwidth and authentication services are addressing this challenge.”
Another factor driving Wi-Fi service demand is the GuestReviews program operated by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), which campground guests can use to offer their opinions about the quality of Wi-Fi service they encounter at private parks.
“It’s hard for park operators to discount the feedback they receive from guests who say, ‘Yes. We stayed there. It’s a great place. But their Wi-Fi is terrible,’ ” Stumberg said, adding that private park operators are realizing that the quality of their Wi-Fi service alone can make the difference between receiving an “A” or a “B” in GuestReviews surveys.
“If you don’t offer high quality Wi-Fi,” Stumberg said, “people will drive away.”
Private parks are also increasingly using Wi-Fi technology for other applications, he said, including portable credit card readers, ATMs, gaming systems, utility data processors and video surveillance cameras.