Over the last few years, all hotels and resorts have been faced with the same technology/customer service issue: how to address the urgent need to improve their Wi-Fi infrastructure so their guests can enjoy their favourite series on Netflix or upload and download photos or videos without waiting an age for the task to be completed.
Hotels, in general, have been extremely lax in providing quality of service, as the cost to improve the infrastructure could never be offset by the revenue it could generate. Some hotels charge for the service which is not desirable, as according to a Hotels.com a survey, free Wi-Fi is the most desired in-room amenity. There are other issues too. From the moment of check-in, gusts are typically given a small piece of paper with a password on it, or it’s written on the key card folder, or sometimes they are provided access without the need to introduce a password. As we move forward into an era in which a guest will be able to check in, open their room door and pay their bill from their smartphone, interaction with reception staff will become less frequent, especially in business hotels.
Bearing this all in mind then, how can hoteliers generate revenue from their free Wi-Fi service? The answer is using social Wi-Fi technology. Let’s look at how this works in three easy steps:
Providing simple and easy access to your free Wi-Fi service is key. Allow your guests to sign in one time only to your service using their favourite social media channel (which in the majority of cases will be Facebook) or by just completing a simple form. Now, whether a guest speaks with your reception staff of not, they will able to gain access quickly to your Wi-Fi. Clients dhould be encouraged to connect to your social media pages as well, which automatically increases your fan base and also provides your hotel increased visibility. Guests will be accustomed to connecting to Wi-Fi using this method, especially in Travel where this technology exists in many of the airports across the world.
Now, while your guest is enjoying your high-speed internet access, you are gaining an insight into your guests – demographics, guests interests, how long they spend online and email addresses to name a few. The statistics gleaned from your guests connecting to your Wi-Fi service will allow you to be more targeted with marketing campaigns and also design offers and services that better suit your guest needs.
Note that data collection is only one part – you will also be able to see where in your hotel or resort guests are connecting to your service and how they move around your property. This will allow you to correctly position marketing for promotions or events that will be taking place at your hotel or improve signage or layouts. You will also be able to identify and collect data from conference attendees, diners at your restaurant or spa users, even if they are non-residents. Again sourcing this information will allow you personalise your marketing campaigns.
So your guests are connected to your Wi-Fi and you have a better understanding of your guest’s interests and requirements. Now, it’s time to take action. First, right from the sign-up page, you can promote any events or special promotions that you are currently offering. By knowing at what time of day the majority of your guests are connected, you can also send personalised messages via email and SMS. You can make them aware of what is going on at your hotel or just simply ask them to provide feedback on their stay which you can encourage them to share on Google, Facebook or Tripadvisor. Another avenue to generate revenue is to allow companies that have products displayed within your resort the ability to promote their offers via your Wi-Fi.
In summary, by using social Wi-Fi technology, not only are you making it easier for your guests to connect, you are gaining a data capture and marketing tool that will allow you to understand your clients better as well improve your TrevPar revenue and direct bookings. There is clear data to suggest that we are in the final days of rate parity across Europe, so it is imperative that hotels or resorts is wishing to build an extensive database of users should encourage them to book direct. Social Wi-Fi should be an essential part of this.
John Kearney is Director of Hotelient as well as a hotel sales & consultancy specialist with over 15 years of experience in managing hotels. Hotelient provides guest marketing solutions to hotels across Europe. If you would like to discuss how Social Wifi can generate revenue for your hotel, email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.