Let’s get right to it. If you want your hotel to be considered remotely modern, you need to offer your guests free Wi-Fi, but don’t let the word “free” dissuade you because your guests are not the only ones who stand to benefit. We are going to explore some of the ways hotels, and those in the hospitality industry, can monetize their Wi-Fi with a tiered network, splash pages, and more!
Whether you are looking to add Wi-Fi to your property’s repertoire or learning how to capitalize on your current Wi-Fi set up, there should be something in this article for you. Let’s dive in…
Tiered Wi-Fi Network
For those still wondering how you can profit off a ‘free’ service, the answer is a tiered network pricing model. Essentially, you take your Wi-Fi network and segment it into low and high bandwidths for guests to choose between:
Low Bandwidth – Offered to guests for free and allows them to post to social media and surf the web at decent speeds
High Bandwidth – Offered at a premium and typically allows for video streaming (Netflix anyone?) or remote work (VPN, file sharing, etc)
This type of service is a win-win because it gives guests the power to choose what’s most appropriate for their needs and the hotel can still offer a free Wi-Fi to all with the premium tier counteracting the cost!
Promote Events and Services
Now, not every guest is going to want to pay for premium Wi-Fi and so this is where your captive portal and splash pages come into play.
If you’ve ever joined the Wi-Fi at a hotel, airport, or your favorite coffee shop you’re probably already familiar with a captive portal but for those who aren’t; a captive portal is webpage a user is directed to before they are given broader access to a network. To gain access to anything past the initial webpage the user will typically have to enter specific information like name, phone number, and especially an email address.
These captive portals are easily customizable, essentially making them a blank canvas on which a hotel or any other organization can market to their guests. Typically, guests will have to login through this portal each time they reconnect to the internet meaning over the course of a stay a guest will likely see the portal multiple times which makes it one of the best tools for marketing specials and events.
Hosting a special dinner or putting on a concert? Captive portal. Promoting a new service the hotel is offering? Captive portal. Encouraging guests to join your loyalty program? You guessed it… captive portal!
Alright, so your Wi-Fi network is a great way to advertise your organization's services but why stop there? Why not let your partners get in on the action with splash pages?
A splash page is similar to a captive portal in that they are typically easy to customize but they are meant more for promotional purposes because a user isn’t required to enter information to move past it. It's an extremely popular tool utilized by online retailers to advertise a daily special or sale offer, but they can also be used for informative purposes like the two examples below:
Local restaurants and tourists attractions, especially here in Florida, thrive off tourists and with splash pages you're essentially giving them the ability to market directly to their target demographic. Concert venues, restaurants/bars, shopping malls, comedy clubs, the list goes on and on!
Data Capture and Analytics
Companies like Google and Facebook are so successful because they have amassed a astronomical amount of data on end users and they’ve been able to analyze this data to understand consumers better than anyone else. Hotels and resorts can start to do the same with their Wi-Fi network.
When are your guests spending the most time online? Are they in their rooms or somewhere else on the property? How many mobile devices does the typical traveler carry? What about families?
Here's an idea: After spending X amount of time on the free Wi-Fi have guests take a brief 3 question survey for continued access and ask anything you want! Well anything within reason!
Depending on how the network is configured there is an abundance of information to be gleaned from your Wi-Fi network. By analyzing this data you will get a clearer picture of who your guests really are and what interests them so you can deliver a better overall customer experience and build brand loyalty.
If you are going to pay to offer free/public Wi-Fi to your guests, monetize it. Whether you want to create a tiered network offering premium Wi-Fi access for a price, or advertise local businesses and hotel services, your Wi-Fi should work for you. Learn more about how Four Winds can help you get more out of your Wi-Fi or….