By leveraging WiFi with data analytics, hoteliers can unlock new untapped potential. Despite the privacy concerns echoed in the media, guests continue to exchange this personal data for a more customised experience. Customer data is vital for effective hotel marketing, easily tapped into with a captive portal and a WiFi unified network. This data can help fashion a personalised guest experience and unveil a wealth of business analytics.
The captive portal
A captive portal is a gateway to a WiFi network where new users are presented with a landing or login page to complete in exchange for being granted online access. This may require authentication, payment, acceptance of an end- user license agreement or an acceptable use policy, or other valid credentials that both the host and user agree to adhere by. A captive portal can also be used to provide access to a hotel’s wider network of services, linking to PMS (Property Management System) and other apps.
Key aspects the independent hotelier needs to consider
- Is there the option to use it without a login ‘splash’ page and still get marketing value and legal compliance?
- Could you use it to create a Personal Area Network (PAN)?
- Does the portal provider allow the hotel to own the data (as it is with eg Hotspot Manager or does the portal provider claim rights over the data collected from your customers as it is with many other providers?)
Do hoteliers need a captive portal?
Originally captive portals acted as a payment gateway to the Internet, but now they can provide an abundance of data for business analytics and be a channel for users to access a hotel’s
online services. A captive portal can reduce the risk of a hotel’s liability in these instances:
- identity or other intellectual property theft
- your guest doing something illegal
A captive portal also provides more personalised customer experience. Historically, the captive portal has received bad press due to it being an ‘open’ or insecure network. However, this is not mandatory and can be used in combination with a WPA2 secure network. WiFi connectivity purists will debate that the captive portal introduces friction and slows access to the Internet, but hoteliers need to balance this with the requirement to monetise the WiFi system.
Typical features in a captive portal, such as Hotspot Manager, include:
- Personalised emails and TXT notifications
- Market Research
- Get actionable client feedback instantly
- Voucher marketing
- Location – and / or Personalised – Based Advertising
- GDPR consent compliance
- Splash pages
Considerations for hoteliers with WiFi Data Analytics
- Make sure you own the data you collect – check the small print as some providers will stipulate, they own it rather than you, and this data would be very valuable to a hotel’s competitors.
- Consider privacy compliance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – if you store and collect personally identifiable data be sure you have a legal basis to do so.
- Are you complying with other laws?
- Strike a balance when collecting data – user convenience (less data) vs. business use (more data)
- Integrations with other marketing services – ensure the data you collect can be seamlessly and legally ported to other services such as an email marketing system
As a minimum, the type of business intelligence hoteliers can expect to collect from a good WiFi portal include:
- Peak times for locations
- Gender and age breakdowns
- Operating System and browser use
- Dwell time – how long online for
- Peak daily connections
Revenue opportunities with the captive portal
As Guest WiFi becomes free, there must be a recompense for the hotelier so they can recoup their investment. Switched-on hotels can use analytics data from a captive portal such as Hotspot Manager as a revenue generator. Whilst the retail sector is already doing this, hospitality has been slow to catch on. Hotels have their customers’ attention for longer than retailers, presenting a captive audience and an untapped opportunity.
WiFi Data can be monetised by encouraging repeat business. For example:
- through good reviews on e.g. TripAdvisor in family holiday hotels, where kids get fast and reliable WiFi everywhere in the hotel. Happy kids mean happy parents…
- offering business users facilities for large file transfer, video streaming, or conference calls lends itself to repeat corporate business
Analytics data can be leveraged for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities too.
For instance, by providing bespoke, personalised offers for additional services, such drinks, golf, next stay promotions either at that location or another within the group. Some groups collaborate with their local tourism promotion agencies to cross-promote attractions, local restaurants and so on, where they work together to share experiences and rewards. The possibilities are endless.
Bring your systems up to speed
A WiFi unified network provides a goldmine of information to help fashion a personalised guest experience and provides a wealth of business analytics. If you have large scale WiFi needs or your looking to upgrade your current systems, Vital WiFi can help.
At Vital WiFi, we understand that times are tough for the industry at the moment. We’re offering free installation to any hoteliers impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, with a monthly fee from as little as £4 per month per guest bedroom. What’s more, you won’t pay a penny for three months.
Talk to one of our friendly technicians for more information on our offer and arrange your free installation today.