Why Wi-Fi is crucial when hospitality gets personal

Today’s consumer is never far from their mobile device. Communications tool, routine manager, camera, entertainment hub and more, the smartphone permeates almost every aspect of daily life, and hospitality is no exception.

In restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and hotels everywhere, consumers are going mobile. As well as conducting personal activities such as checking emails or browsing the web, they’re using their smartphones to inform and enrich how they eat and drink.

It’s not uncommon for patrons to share photographs of their meals with friends and family, check online that the menu meets their dietary requirements, or settle the bill through a payments app. But how can hospitality vendors tap into this digital connection?

Getting personal

Mobile technology is undeniably influential, and it can be harnessed by hospitality companies. Personalisation is one of the watchwords of the modern service industries, and consumers are ready to embrace customised communications through their smartphone.
We conducted a survey of 1,000 UK adults and found that 49% of patrons are happy to receive notifications to their mobile phones. Additionally, more than half (53%) are receptive to digital marketing offers.

You scratch my back …

Personalisation is a two-way street. To receive a service that’s tailored to their requirements, consumers visiting hospitality establishments must share personal information with the vendor about who they are, what they like to eat and drink, and how they prefer to be served.

Our survey found that 54% of people are willing to share their email address to receive a more personalised service, while over half (51%) are happy to reveal their gender, and 47% their age.

A small number of them would go even further if it meant receiving a more personal experience in return; 8% would be willing to share their social media ID information with a venue, and 6% their login details.

And in return, patrons are happy for vendors to use this information to make contextually relevant offers – for example, 37% would like hospitality venues to send menu offers based on their gender or age group.

Why Wi-Fi is essential

If the customer is king, then knowing their wants in detail is an essential component of delivering a successful hospitality service.

At the heart of this exchange is a vendor’s Wi-Fi network. Customers expect to be able to log on to free Wi-Fi when they enter a hospitality venue, and businesses can use this as a data-sharing opportunity.

While most hospitality brands appreciate the need for free Wi-Fi on location, not all recognise the pressure the growing number of mobile users is putting their data network under. More than a third (36%) of consumers hold back from using a venue’s Wi-Fi if the service is too slow, while 43% feel that security concerns are a barrier.

As well as making consumers less likely to share data, poor Wi-Fi can have more immediate consequences. Our survey found that 83% of customers were less likely to place an order in a hospitality venue if the Wi-Fi was slow or difficult to connect with.

As these figures demonstrate, free Wi-Fi is an essential component to get right, as the price of failure can be high. By selecting the best technology partner, hospitality vendors can ensure their Wi-Fi delivers customers a fast, safe mobile journey, whilst harnessing the personalisation power of the data exchanged.

Vodat International offers a range of cost-effective, cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions for hospitality businesses, helping them enhance and understand the customer experience they offer.

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