There is no such thing as free WiFi. Someone, somewhere has to pay for it.

We all expect it, we all see the stickers on doors and windows, but ultimately someone is having to pay for it, and it’s generally the venue owner.

I recently met with such an owner and we discussed the expectation of customers that WiFi access will be free. It seems that wherever we spend more than 30 minutes in the same place, we cannot resist the urge to do a bit of surfing, or check e-mails or Facebook. We even check to make sure the next place we visit will have ‘Free’ WiFi!

This is why venues are now looking to get something back for their investment in allowing us to benefit from the WiFi systems they pay for.

By using more advanced WiFi systems, venues can now start to learn more about our behavior whilst we are out shopping or dining for example. They can now start to push us offers (we all like offers!) whilst we are in store. They can reward us for being a loyal customer by knowing how many times we have visited the venue and offer us a free coffee (we all like free stuff even more!).

Because venues can now learn more about their customers, simply because they use their free WiFi system, they can make their customers whole experience so much better.

I know this opens up the whole ‘big brother’ debate, which I will leave for another time, but personally, if I have to offer up a few basic details in order to receive fast, reliable and FREE Wifi, then I’m happy with that.