Winning Wi-Fi: how to increase hospitality customer value through free web access

With smartphone ownership worldwide exceeding two-billion, customers have grown accustomed to be being constantly connected, and in many sectors meeting this requirement has become an industry standard.

For the hospitality industry, free Wi-Fi remains a major draw for patrons and customers; especially those visiting for business purposes, or looking to pass the time with data-intensive streaming activities, such as watching TV and films. In fact, Vodat recently discovered that nearly 7 in every 10 consumers use Wi-Fi services when visiting a hospitality venue.

Making Wi-Fi work both ways

With such high levels of adoption, free Wi-Fi has become far more than a convenient customer perk. It is a powerful way for hospitality vendors to drive traffic through the door – and increase patron value.

For example, when it comes to customer engagement, Wi-Fi is a powerful way to increase customer dwell time and spend.  One way for hospitality businesses to achieve this is by creating a branded welcome portal when patrons log on to the Wi-Fi network. This is an effective digital platform to promote the latest marketing offers and keep customers informed of upcoming special events.

There is certainly an openness among consumers to engage with branded hospitality content through free Wi-Fi services. Vodat research has found that 4 in 10 customers now want a branded welcome portal that provides them with discount information, while over a third are interested in the latest promotions, and 16% also enjoy company news updates.

In addition to communicating to the customer, free Wi-Fi services also give hospitality companies the opportunity to get patrons actively promoting the brand on their behalf. For instance, requiring customers to check-in via Facebook or post a tweet as the prerequisite for free Wi-F access gives vendors an opportunity to generate organic publicity.

And this is something most visitors are willing to do; our research has found that a third of patrons will post positive comments on social media if they are enjoying the food or drink in the venue they’re visiting. To discover more about the powerful relationship between social media and hospitality read our in-depth report here.

Social media is far from the only data sharing opportunity that free Wi-Fi can enable. Our research has found that a third of patrons will share their email address in return for Wi-Fi access, while 1-in-5 will also join a loyalty scheme.

This creates opportunities to reach patrons beyond the duration of their visit, with targeted follow-up marketing designed to improve customer retention and nurture long-term loyalty.

Building a bigger picture

While Wi-Fi is an important engagement tool, even patrons not willing to sign up to services can provide valuable data for hospitality vendors seeking to improve their experience, while maximising the capability of their venues.

Using Wi-Fi connectivity for data analytics can enable hospitality vendors to measure activities such as exact location, dwell times and repeat visits, building a more accurate profile of their customer base. It can also be used to gauge the popularity of specific events, marketing campaigns and in-venue offerings.

Meanwhile, for customers willing to engage, this increased analytical viewpoint can create richer, more personalised relationships – sending tailored emails or push notifications to their smartphone on entering a venue, for example.

Listening to what your customers’ want has always been the key to providing the best possible service. Today, Wi-Fi analytic systems let you hear each one – then respond to them as individuals.

Vodat International specialises in secure Wi-Fi solutions for hospitality vendors. To discover just how our solutions can increase customer value click here.

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