A common practice among deploying guest Wi-Fi networks is implementing some way to earn revenue from the service. Smart, right? This revenue could help to justify the expense of the hardware as well as the recurring bill from the internet service provider. Some methods to do this are very straightforward, and others are a little more creative and subtle. Let’s cover a few of the more popular ways that I have seen this done.
Pay to Play
The most straightforward method is an exchange of cash payment for Wi-Fi service, often referred to as “Pay to Play”. This is generally billed either by the amount of time used or the amount of data consumed. As a user connects to the network, he or she will be intercepted by a captive portal offering different packages available for purchase (e.g. $5.00 for 30 minutes, $12.95 for two hours). Another method may be to charge by the amount of data consumed. For example, you could purchase a 1 GB plan and use it across multiple days. For places where a guest may come and go during their visit, this may be more attractive.
Another model of the pay to play concept that I have seen quite frequently in hotels is selling a day pass with different tiers of available service. For example, guests can purchase the basic package that would allow them to simply surf the Internet at a moderate speed, or they could purchase a premium package that would allow for support of 4K streaming and use of VPNs.
Wouldn’t it be cool if your Wi-Fi solution could upsell for you?
Let’s say a business traveler purchased the basic plan and then decided to fire up a VPN. Samsung Axis can detect the VPN then redirect the user to a portal to offer an opportunity to upgrade to a plan that includes the use of VPN technology.
Samsung Wi-Fi offers a great deal of flexibility when choosing how to implement these plans. Credit cards and PayPal are the most popular methods of payment. In the case of hospitality, we offer guest management system integration. This gives us the capability to place that Internet charge directly on the room bill, or provide a customized experience based on the guest’s loyalty tier. In the case of housing, our solution includes a billing gateway that can directly bill the customer each month. It can even add penalties for late payments or, in the case service was suspended, penalties for reconnects.
Moving the cost of the Internet service to a sponsor is another frequently used model. This option gives organizations the ability to advertise to each of your guests in exchange for complimentary Wi-Fi service. This could be as simple as putting a company logo on the splash page so that as users log in, they may see a message, “Complimentary Wi-Fi provided by: ABC Company”. This model is easy for the network operator to manage because they simply provide the Wi-Fi analytics back to the sponsor for proof of performance.
An alternative method of advertising could be asking the user to watch a 30-second video clip prior to onboarding to the network. In this model, the user could be redirected to an HTML page that plays a video and explains that the creator of the video is sponsoring their free Wi-Fi session as soon as they log in.
A more aggressive model would be to inject advertising into their session. Let’s say the first 10 minutes of the session are free, but for every 10 minutes after the initial session, the user is required to participate in some sort of advertising like watching a video or viewing a webpage. There is a feature called interstitial redirection that works much like TV commercials, but for web-based traffic. After 10 minutes has elapsed, the session could be redirected to a source of the operators choosing and then be redirected back to their original content 30 seconds later.
Marketing campaigns are also very popular sources of monetization. As the guest joins the network, the network operator might require some sort of information be provided to login to the network. This could be as simple as providing an email address or phone number, or a little more advanced by giving the user the opportunity to connect an existing social media account. All of these methods would result in the user’s contact information being added to a database that, if agreed to, could be used later for marketing to that customer.
After collecting the information, the network operator has several options on how to use it. The Samsung Guest Analytics solution can be setup to trigger automated campaigns for different events such as a guest logging in for the first time or being absent for a 30-day period. These triggers could automatically send an email to either welcome the user or to say, “Hey, we miss you! Here’s what’s going on since you last visited.”
The greatest part about all of this is the system is fully-automated and continues to work for you with minimal effort to maintain it.
Samsung provides all the tools and flexibility necessary to create monetized networks powered by a very capable system of access points. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below if you have any additional ways to monetize Wi-Fi. Let me know what you see working and what doesn’t.