Like for Access: 3 Benefits of Social WiFi in Hotels

Toh Teck KangArticles

To the savvy traveller, few things rival the importance of staying connected – to stay in touch with family, share their adventures live with friends, or keep tabs on work. Good Internet connectivity will always be one of the first things travellers look for abroad, sometimes even before comfort.

And it better be free – people now expect that as a basic right.

So why wouldn’t they bunk down at a place that provides that for just a Facebook like? Or a check-in? Or a Twitter follow?

 

As a hotelier, you have three good reasons to offer WiFi through social media authentication.

It Makes Guest Logins Easy

Most travellers use social media frequently anyway – it makes perfect sense to ride on their habits. When access to your network at no charge is just a screen tap or a mouse click away, and on an interface they already know well, they are naturally more inclined to take your offer.

But of course, from the hotel’s point of view, interaction with the customer doesn’t end there. To get guests to pay for more bandwidth, you have to, in the words of Seth Godin, provide something ‘better than free’. Which means quality of service.

The next big no-no for guests, after no WiFi, is slow WiFi. Not all will use your bandwidth just for Facebooking and Google searches – you must prepare for video streaming and other rich media activities, which bog down the network. Keep bandwidth hoggers down by setting time or capacity limits on free access, and throttling too-heavy traffic.

This helps ensure all your guests get an optimal WiFi experience, while letting them know that YouTube binges and massive downloads come with a price. It all begins with the login experience – capturing guests with a familiar process instead of forcing them to key in 20-digit passwords on paper slips.

Alternatively, if you can spare the bandwidth, you may wish to relax the restraints. Because much of the value of social media authentication lies in the ‘social’ bit.

It Helps You Builds Communities

With social media in the picture, every hotel wants guests to share the good times and leave positive comments about their stay. Unlimited free WiFi certainly helps. This is not just free marketing for your establishment – it is also valuable currency for winning over the modern generation of cynical, highly-informed customers.

But you also want guests to connect with you on social media so you know what the audience really is.

Social media profiles are gold mines of actionable data – country, occupation, interests, travel habits, and a lot more. Used right, these are a godsend to your marketing team, enabling them to beef up their campaigns with personalized, relevant offers. Better knowledge of your guests and potential guests also means you can drive them directly to your booking system, and cut your spending on hotel price comparison platforms.

At the very least, even without incentives and targeted marketing, the core reason of tapping social media is to cultivate a loyal, engaged community. Never forget that your hotel isn’t just a brand – it’s an experience. And your first step to growing a customer base around that experience is integrating social media into the one thing every traveller looks for in a hotel.

There is one more reason to put social WiFi in your hotel: your tenants.

It Lets You Drive Guests to Tenants

Those F&B and retail outlets may have their own plans for offering patrons on-premises WiFi. The cafes and restaurants may want to build their own followings, with loyalty programs. The retailers may be wise to modern shoppers’ ‘showrooming’ tactics, and so provide WiFi access for them to make informed decisions.

This is another monetization opportunity for hoteliers. Offering WiFi service through sponsorship agreements opens a second source of revenue from your tenants. Access can be tiered to cater to tenant needs, and gated behind social media check-ins to track guests’ spending patterns.

This also has the added benefit of tenants contributing to your establishment’s image as more than ‘bed and board’ – a well-connected place where guests can enjoy a fuller spectrum of amenities and services.

In today’s hospitality space, good WiFi and free WiFi are no longer enough on their own – it’s both or nothing. Hotels must cater to an always-on, social-savvy breed of traveller to maintain their competitive edge. What better way to reap the most from this setup, than making social the key to your WiFi experience?

Find out more about social WiFi and making it work with your environment. Contact us at +65 6858 6789 or sales@antlabs.com.