Numerous customer satisfaction surveys agree: “customers prefer establishments that offer free Wi-Fi”
Wi-Fi availability and performance are important to guests. More than any other amenity offered, Wi-Fi is now a baseline expectation of guests that drives consumer ratings and repeated patronage.
1.MEASURE AND MONITOR FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE
You may have used conservative guidelines on WiFi AP density when deploying your wireless network, but nothing beats actually measuring your network performance. Check real-world bandwidth by running Speedtest from different areas of your establishment, use free applications like Netspot to assess signal strength, and keep an eye on overall bandwidth usage – if it approaches or exceeds your Internet Service Provider (ISP) plan limits, consider upgrading to the next tier of service.
2.ENSURE UBIQUITOUS COVERAGE
Customers expect coverage throughout the property. It can be challenging to provide adequate service to areas where large numbers of guests may converge for brief periods. This makes it even more important to deploy enterprise-quality Wi-Fi access points (AP) that can handle high user density.
3.PROVIDE A FREE ACCESS TIER
Free Wi-Fi access for all paying customers should be standard. Offering additional tiers of premium, unlimited bandwidth for purchase or to members of a loyalty program can augment access, but even luxury hotel chains avoid charging guests for the most basic service.
Enable customers to connect to your Wi-Fi by providing an open network that’s available to anyone within range; this is a simple, easy model that’s gaining traction with many hotel chains. However, when regulations or other obstacles make open networks unsuitable, configuring a user-friendly guest WiFi portal maintains customers’ access. Simply supply login details when guests check in or customers place their order.
5.CONNECT ALL DEVICES
A customer may walk in to your establishment with multiple Internet-dependent devices– a phone with WhatsApp videos pending, a laptop with email presentations for work, or a Kindle to download in-flight e-books. So if your guest portal only allows one device per guest, it’s time for an upgrade.
How to monetize your Wi-Fi Service
Free Wi-Fi can benefit consumers without becoming a loss-leader for the provider. Beyond the obvious benefits of attracting and retaining customers, venue operators can monetize their WiFi service in a number of ways; let’s describe some of those approaches:
USE A FREEMIUM APPROACH
Free basic service is the beginning, but venue operators can add tiered access, offering paid, premium service. Options for this include limiting the data-rates of the basic access; customers can still browse the Internet and check email, but will need to buy a plan that enables services such as Netflix for streaming high-quality video.
FREE WI-FI FOR CUSTOMERS WHO PAY FOR OTHER PRODUCTS
Coffee shops offer a simple example of this: using a voucher-based system that prints login details on the purchase receipt, rather than offering an open SSID with free WiFi for all, ensures that only the establishment’s paying customers can use the free WiFi. Hotels follow a similar model, sometimes using a PMS system so that users can login using their last-name and room number on an otherwise free WiFi network.
LEVERAGE SPLASH-PAGES FOR YOUR OWN ADVERTISEMENTS
Splash pages users click through for access give establishments like Hotels the opportunity to advertise daily specials, the Happy Hour at the hotel bar, and other offers – coupons for free drinks or dessert – to entice customers to use more of the paid facilities at the site. This way, though the Wi-Fi service itself is complementary, it stimulates awareness of and interest in the venue’s available paid products and services.
LEVERAGE SPLASH-PAGES FOR ADVERTISEMENTS OF OTHERS
Another entrepreneurial approach to splash page advertisements is the inclusion of other businesses’ ads. For instance, a mall coffee shop that offers free WiFi could feature neighboring mall stores’ advertisements on their click-through splash page. By charging for that service, the coffee shop owner can offset the costs associated with providing Wi-Fi.
ANALYZE CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR FOR BUSINESS OPTIMIZATION
Presence data collected from Wi-Fi reports offers valuable information that can be shared with data-processing and analytics firms to inform user experience improvements. How long do customers stay in the venue – hotel, store, or mall – and in what areas? How many are returning versus new users? Services that anonymizes the collected data for consumer privacy, while keeping the trends and patterns intact, is ideal for this application.
Managed Wi-Fi Solutions for Retail and Hospitality
E400 and E500 Wi-Fi Access Points together with the cnMaestro™ network manager provide a compelling solution for retail and hospitality Wi-Fi service. Advanced guest portal features, Cloud and on-premises controller options and remote troubleshooting make installing, managing and monetizing Wi-Fi connectivity a breeze.
cnMAESTRO™ Network Manager
- Cloud-based or on-premises platform.
- Easily configure and manage a large number of network devices.
- Operate your network centrally with powerful workflows on firmware management, device events and alarms, and historical view of statistics.
- Remotely monitor the whole network with powerful troubleshooting tools.
- Services such as guest portal, social login and voucher-based access.