Hospitality - Hotels

How Your Hotel Wireless Network Can Make a Profit (Hint: It’s NOT About Charging for Access)

The time when offering Wi-Fi to hotel guests was considered an amenity has passed. It is now a blatant expectation, having taken the same path color television and cable traveled in the past. As a result, hoteliers need to learn how to transition Wi-Fi offerings from an expense to an investment with returns. This post presents four ways to transition Wi-Fi from an expense to an investment.

An Investment in Customer Retention

In a recently released report of top hotels’ online reviews, Samsung Networks reported 14.6% of guests who register complaints online mention Wi-Fi connectivity as one of their reasons for being unsatisfied. What would it mean for your bottom line if you were able to retain 14.6% more guests?

The more satisfied a customer is during their stay, the more likely they will be to stay with you again. (All the marketing numbers indicate it’s less expensive to keep a customer than it is to obtain a new one.) So it lands in the realm of common sense: better customer satisfaction leads to higher profitability. If Wi-Fi has become an expectation, then that expectation must be met to achieve customer satisfaction. The cause/effect line looks something like this:

Good Wi-Fi Connectivity → Higher Customer Satisfaction → More Return Guests → Greater Profitability

 

An Investment in Targeted Marketing

Most hotels use a captive portal to give guests access to hotel Wi-Fi, even when they offer free accessibility, so guests agree to the Terms of Use. That portal provides an opportunity to capture either an email address or social media profile information that can be used for future marketing efforts.

The demographic data from a social media profile, provides insights into guest interests that can be used to push targeted marketing messages in the future. Those messages encourage upsells and additional purchases based on the specific data acquired from Wi-Fi access, making Wi-Fi an investment not just in blanket marketing but in laser-focused, targeted marketing that drives additional revenue.

For example, a guest logs into the hotel Wi-Fi on the captive portal page using their Facebook profile. That profile indicates the guest is a 27-year old male with an interest in live music, college football, and craft beer. With this data, hoteliers can push the craft beer in the hotel bar or inform the guest of a local musician who will be performing in the lobby at the end of the week. These messages lead to increased guest satisfaction as well as the potential for increased revenue.

 

An Investment in Advertising

Customer loyalty apps, supported by Wi-Fi connectivity, provide another way to increase revenue by providing advertising space to relevant third-party advertisers.

Hotels are uniquely positioned to partner with third-party advertisers in the tourism industry. Local tourist attractions, nearby restaurants, and entertainment venues all stand to benefit from getting their branded messages in front of your guests. You stand to benefit from their advertising dollars by using your customer loyalty app to put them there.

People are accustomed to seeing advertising online and in apps. As long as you target the messaging appropriately and don’t push notifications excessively, they’re likely to see the ads as helpful bits of information rather than annoying interruptions.

 

An Investment in Guest Analytics

Wi-Fi is also foundational for beacon technology and the guest analytics collection it enables. Those analytics are key to informing hoteliers about strategic business decisions. Using beacons to triangulate the locations of guests who have downloaded a loyalty app or accessed guest Wi-Fi on their phones, guest analytics inform hoteliers of traffic patterns, duration in one location, as well as peak crowd moments.

This location data may indicate guests frequent one part of the gift shop and neglect another, telling the manager to change the flow of the shop or rearrange merchandise to draw guests to all corners of the shop. Location data can trigger targeted messages like happy hour specials as guests near the restaurant or a gift shop coupon on the elevator from the parking garage. It may also show managers where to place wayfinding information, when to increase staffing, and what guests prefer to do in the hotel during their stay (pool vs. fitness center, continental breakfast vs. room service, spa vs. concierge). These bits of information inform business decisions that improve overall chances of success. That’s an investment worth making.

To learn more about how to implement these transitions or how to upgrade your hotel Wi-Fi to improve connectivity for your guests, talk to a Samsung Networks hospitality Wi-Fi expert.

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