Regardless of where consumers or end users find themselves, it’s become common to have access to Wi-Fi. To keep customer satisfaction high and remain competitive, many organizations now offer free Wi-Fi. Guest Wi-Fi has become so critical that many managed services providers include it as a service offering, either for an a la carte upcharge or as part of a bundle. While this service could be part of your networking offering, the fact that guest Wi-Fi can be used for advertising and lead capture also make it a service of interest to marketing departments. Therefore, be sure to include decision makers with marketing titles when pitching this service.
To learn more about this opportunity, XaaS Journal identified four verticals that often leverage guest Wi-Fi and investigated how each one is benefiting. Armed with this knowledge, you can speak more intelligently with your own customers to find ways their business can benefit from this great service.
Airports were one of the first organizations to offer free Wi-Fi. Other mass transit providers such as bus lines and trains have followed suit. For example, Detroit’s QLine deployed Fluidmesh along the railways to give riders access to free Wi-Fi. The free Wi-Fi is just a small piece of the overall solution, as Fluidmesh’s wireless connectivity provides connectivity for surveillance cameras, point of sale, and more between stations.
What about municipalities?
Whether a city aspires to be a full blown “Smart City” or just a forward-thinking citizen-friendly place to hang out with friends or raise a family, providing parks and public spaces with free Wi-Fi seems like it should be a no-brainer. While some cities have had success (e.g., Chattanooga), the internet is full of horror stories about how public Wi-Fi is supposedful a bad idea. It appears as if telecom lobbyists have made this one market not worth your time to pursue. In fact, according to this article, Municipal Broadband Is Roadblocked or Outlawed in 20 States.
New York City’s Transit Wireless also launched free Wi-Fi in all of its subway stations. Users are shown a splash page and ad upon login. Today, many other cities have caught on and have done the same.
A study by Hospitality Technology indicated that free Wi-Fi is the most significant factor influencing a consumer’s hotel decision. It’s not surprising then that hotels are one of the strongest markets for guest Wi-Fi.
This market, in particular, has historically looked at guest Wi-Fi as an expense, rather than a revenue opportunity. While hotels can charge a premium for faster tiers of internet access, the real benefits you should be promoting to customers are around marketing.
For example, hotels can serve up targeted ads, create remarketing campaigns, and gather insights into customer behavior and interests.
Brick and mortar retailers are fighting for their lives against one another and online competitors. As such, they need every advantage they can get. Free Wi-Fi might feel like a low-impact solution, but it can have far-reaching benefits for this market.
At its most basic level, offering guest Wi-Fi can help create a positive perception that the store is forward-thinking and hip to technology. In addition, retailers can push sponsored ads to customers.
Digging a little deeper, we know that if a customer has access to Wi-Fi in the store, there’s a better chance they’ll dwell in the store longer. Staying long typically leads to more sales. Here’s an interesting article with some more details on this trend.
Finally, Wi-Fi analytics can give brick and mortar retailers insights into customers and behaviors typically reserved for online retailers. With the right analysis and additional tools, retailers can turn this data into new opportunities and sales.
Like retail, restaurants are competing for our business and offering free Wi-Fi is one way to improve satisfaction. By requiring customers to register and log in, restaurants can build a strong database of customers that’s useful for future marketing campaigns. Alternatively, some restaurants require visitors to “Like” their Facebook page or join their loyalty program to gain access to Wi-Fi. In any of the above cases, guests get free Wi-Fi while the restaurant obtains valuable information on their customers that can be used to increase future sales.