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Show Me The Money, How To Monetize Your Wi-Fi Access

by John Ciarlone on July 1, 2014

guest wifi access There are a lot of great business-related reasons to add guest Wi-Fi access to your facilities, but one element a lot of people don't consider is the potential for WiFi to drive revenue!

WiFi doesn't have to "merely" be a draw to get people in the door. There are numerous ways you can use it to directly drive revenues, boost business, and even get more data to focus other customer efforts.

 Short on time? Download our free guide "How to Create A WiFi Network   Your Guests will Love"

Five Great Ways To Monetize Your Guest WiFi

1 - Custom Portal Pages

Even if your WiFi is totally free, that doesn't mean you have to allow open logins directly at your access points. Besides being insecure, it deprives you of a great messaging opportunity.

So, create a portal on your server which requires a (freely-provided) username and password to access the Internet. The page it displays can be covered in branding, advertisements, clickable calls-to-action and other important messages. These are seen by every visitor logging into your network, every time.

Changing the password occasionally will also deter people from "camping" outside on your free Wi-Fi.

Meraki Switch 2 - Tiered Services

If you run a business where people are likely to be staying for several hours -or days- another valid strategy is offering tiered services. In the most basic setup, a simple low-bandwidth connection is free, while giving customers the option to spend money for a faster connection. Add more tiers if you like.

Your average visitor who just wants to check their Facebook and Reddit isn't going to care about the slow free speeds, while it's a nice source of revenue from those who want premium service. (Or those with expense accounts...)

For a more indirect boost, this is also a great free bonus for VIP membership or other "club" packages, if your business uses them.

3 - Direct Orderinghow to profit from guest wifi access

Whether it's on your portal page, or on a separate popup, try including direct links to order products and services from your business. Just as a few examples:

  • Room service -or even table service- directly from a tablet.

  • A clothing store with its full catalog browsable from the in-store internet.

  • Home delivery: "Have it waiting when you get home!"

  • Partnerships! A hotel giving direct access to a nearby pizza-delivery service, for a cut.

4 - Popup Ads

Users don't like popups, but if the service is free, they usually won't complain. And it's a cheap and easy way to get impressions, even if clickthrough rates are fairly low. There are numerous third-party services you can subscribe to which will feed ads to you for set fees.

You could even have an ad bar which is permanently "on top" of the browser.

Just try to keep the ads somewhat unobtrusive. If the ads are so large they make browsing difficult, it'll drive people away.

5 - Log-In Surveys

Want to learn more about your customers? Use your portal page to host a survey! In this case, rather than requiring a password, your visitors would give a few bits of information in exchange for WiFi access.

The upshot to this approach is that, since your server can track users by their device's MAC address, you can start compiling very specific records on the interests of your visitors on a user-by-user basis. The downside is that you'll likely get significant bad data from those who click randomly to get past the survey quickly.

However, if you keep the survey short (less than five questions) and compile the data over months, you can build a robust overview of your in-office visitors.

Adding WiFi Adds Value!

Businesses shouldn't think of public WiFi as a burden being "forced" on them by consumer expectations. Wi-Fi is an incredibly versatile tool which makes life easier for your business and your customers, as well as offering a wealth of monetization potential!

If you'd like more personalized suggestions on seeing the most returns on WiFi, just contact Hummingbird for a free consultation!

Topics: Wireless Access Points, Wireless