Still Charging Guests for WiFi? 5 Reasons Why you Shouldn’t
1. Giving guests what they want
According to a report released by JiWire earlier this year, 44% of travelers use smartphones to research travel while they’re traveling. Seeing as the majority of mobile planning and research tools require online connectivity, your guests are faced with a challenge: mobile data is expensive, especially if international roaming is activated. Complimentary Wi-Fi spots rescue many Internet-starved travellers, and influence their travel decisions. 83% of 1,000 frequent travellers surveyed by IHG said free internet access would make them happier while travelling for business. By offering complimentary Wi-Fi at your property, attraction or in your tour bus, you acknowledge a primary need of your guests – which is the essence of hospitality. See: Travel Research and Booking Seen A Multi-Device Process
2. Encouraging social media marketing
A survey released by Online Travel Market revealed that 52% of the international travel population relies on social media for travel inspiration, while 74% use social media while on holiday. This means many travellers are sharing images, videos and updates with their friends or followers via social media.
Consider this mindset: Your guests want to tell others about your businesses. They want to show their friends and family where they are staying and what they are seeing. They want to talk about their experience, in real time, to people who really care.
This is one of the most powerful, influential and affordable marketing opportunities you have, all you need to do is enable and encourage it. The easiest way to do this is by offering complimentary Internet connectivity. See: Online Travel Market by New Media Trend Watch
According to Dr James Hanrahan from IT Sligo, “social media allows tourists to put a picture of where they are. It’s the new postcard. They are posting where they are and sharing information about their experience.” When clients share your products and content on social media, conversations around your business are created.
Conclusion: investing in free WiFi is a great way to boost your business’ visibility and reputation on social media.
70% of travelers update their Facebook page while on vacation. By offering them free WiFi, they could be sharing positive visual content or information about your business.
Read: Using Twitter to market your hotel, guest house or B&B: Part 1& Part 2
3. Put QR codes to work
QR Codes tend to be cryptic, often leaving visitors unsure about what exactly the value will be of scanning them. A visitor is likely to weigh up the value of their time and mobile data, with value of scanning a code. If you have invested in an on-site QR Code strategy or campaign for your property or attraction, complimentary Wi-Fi could increase the chance of visitors scanning your codes.
Example: a resort adds QR codes around their property, linking to a resort map on their website, helping guests find their way around attractions and food points, and in the process upsells on-site experiences and products, based on the visitor’s location. By adding a clear sign to promote free Wi-Fi to all guests, the probability of visitors engaging with the campaign is likely to be higher. Also see: Why QR codes are still useful in travel marketing (and how you could use them effectively)
4. Guest reviews
An increasing number of travellers are using mobile devices to visit and contribute to online travel review websites, with TripAdvisor being the most popular (at 108 million unique monthly visitors from mobile devices in the third quarter of 2013). With access to Wi-Fi, clients are encouraged post online feedback while it’s still fresh in their memories, at no cost. This is a powerful way resolve client queries while they are still at your establishment. See:TripAdvisor Fact Sheet.
Apart from official review website, keep in mind that your guests can also post opinions and information about your business on other platforms, like Twitter or Facebook. It is recommended to establish an action plan for listening to what is being said about your business and brand online.
Remember: Each time a client mentions your free WiFi service on an online review website, your business’ reputation receives a boost.
5. Quality counts
If you are to invest in complimentary Wi-Fi service, be sure to do it right. According to the IHG survey, 90 percent of 1,000 frequent travellers surveyed feel that free hotel WiFi services are limited, slow and unreliable. Offering a stable, fast and reliable connection could be a small effort towards a massive competitive advantage. Read: IHG research reveals the importance of guest Wi-Fi