We may not be continuously connected to the internet, but we have all come to rely on network access whenever we need it — including while waiting, working, or taking a break.
The need for WiFi in business settings, far beyond traditional hospitality businesses, reflects the highly connected world we live in. Ensuring your customers, clients, or guests have reliable access to a secure and fast guest WiFi network can transform your business outcomes.
This guide explores what an upgraded guest WiFi network can do for your business — and which business WiFi solutions may be right for you.
The Shift from Amenity to Necessity: Guest WiFi Today
Remember the days when you were pleasantly surprised that a business offered a free guest WiFi network? Of course you do — but you also know they’re in the past. Modern customers no longer see guest WiFi as a welcome bonus. They actively expect to be able to log on to the web wherever they go.
In a world where WiFi connectivity has become the norm rather than the exception, businesses can stay competitive by offering more than just “WiFi” and focusing on delivering excellent WiFi. For example, a supermarket that offers WiFi has an advantage over those that don’t. Or, an amusement park offering WiFi vs another that doesn’t.
It’s not just for the benefit of your guests. You can leverage your business WiFi solutions to improve customer experience and engagement, build brand loyalty, gain valuable analytics, explore brand-new marketing avenues, and enhance your own operational efficiency.
WiFi may have become ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean every business taps into all its powers. What can you do to access all the opportunities guest WiFi offers?
Personalized Customer Experience
Guest WiFi networks enable you to offer your customers or clients a more personalized experience — almost regardless of your industry.
Hotels can use the data they collect to deliver personalized dining recommendations or virtual check-in. Restaurants can offer menu options tailored to guests’ needs. Airports can provide real-time flight updates or gate changes. Colleges can offer course materials and schedules. Healthcare facilities can offer personalized educational content to patients in the waiting room.
We could go on (and on!), but you get the point. WiFi is your gateway to providing an unforgettable customer experience. How will you leverage its power?
Customer Data Collection Through Guest WiFi
Guest WiFi isn’t just a convenient service. It’s also a powerful data collection tool.
Customers who log on to your guest WiFi network will generally be happy to provide an email address, name, and contact number while signing up. This information allows you to build customer profiles and send personalized communications that genuinely connect.
Building demographic profiles is another valuable way to guide your marketing efforts and personalize the customer experience — and allowing guests to log in via social media accounts makes that easy!
Ethical and privacy considerations are always at the forefront when collecting customer data via guest WiFi networks, whether or not your business is directly impacted by regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Guest WiFi networks can implement systems that focus on gaining user consent, optimizing security, implementing procedures to deal with data breaches, and defining clear data retention policies.
Taking your customers’ privacy seriously enables you to earn their trust and comply with relevant regulations.
WiFi for Customer Retention
Yes, modern customers prefer businesses that offer guest WiFi over those that don’t. But that fact scratches the surface. Your guest WiFi network can be your gateway to improved customer retention in numerous other ways.
Let’s take a look:
- By using your WiFi network to identify repeat customers, you can offer personalized discounts, promotions, or rewards.
- WiFi analytics open the door to personalized marketing recommendations that make every promotion relevant.
- Your WiFi network can be set up to send customers personalized emails or messages thanking them for their visit and inviting them to return.
The Feedback Loop
Online guest feedback surveys make talking to your customers easier than ever. Whether they’re especially happy with the service or notice areas for improvement, surveys allow customers to offer their two cents. The data you gather from surveys will enable you to continuously improve your service to turn satisfied customers into loyal ones.
Security Aspects of Guest WiFi: Protecting Both Business and Customer
Guest networks face unique security challenges because of the way they work — they’re designed to be open to a variety of people using a variety of devices. Most might be grateful customers, but others may look to take advantage of any vulnerabilities in your network.
In a world where cyber threats play an increasingly important role, implementing steps to protect your customers and your business is crucial.
Guest WiFi networks should allow businesses to enhance the customer experience and tailor marketing efforts to individual needs. They should, however, always be isolated from your internal network — where you manage employee communication, Internet of Things integration, and other daily operations.
This segregation, which allows you to protect your valuable data, financial information, and sensitive customer profiles, can be achieved in various ways. Whether you opt for VLAN segmentation, firewalls, and access controls, or entirely separate hardware, network segregation is a primary security consideration.
Strong encryption is another essential feature of secure guest WiFi networks. Encryption “scrambles” the data that passes between your WiFi access points and guests’ devices, making it unreadable to predatory intruders. Your guests’ communications, login details, and financial information are protected with strong encryption.
Encryption protects the users accessing your guest WiFi network, but it also protects your business by safeguarding your internal network from attacks by malicious guest users.
Choosing the Right Guest WiFi Solution
Selecting the best guest WiFi setup for your unique business needs is a complex process that requires you to consider numerous factors, starting with:
- Your primary goals for your WiFi network — such as customer satisfaction, data collection, or enhanced security.
- Scalability. What are your growth plans, and can your chosen WiFi solution accommodate them?
- Customization needs and ease of use are the next things to consider. How much control do you need over your network? Does your business have its own IT department?
- Budget and cost of ownership should also be considered. Do you prefer capital expenses or operational costs?
- The size of your business and the complexity of your network are two additional factors to consider as you choose the right guest WiFi solution. Solutions that work for small businesses may not work for multi-location chains.
Managed WiFi is a full-service solution where a managed service provider manages all aspects of your guest WiFi networking needs, including customization, updates, monitoring, security, and troubleshooting. While you own the hardware required to run your network and are responsible for replacing it when required, your managed service provider takes care of day-to-day network management.
Managed WiFi is a cost-effective and scalable choice for larger businesses requiring a great degree of control. With network configuration, maintenance, and security in the hands of a managed service provider, you can focus on harnessing the benefits of your guest WiFi network.
WiFi as a Service
WiFi as a Service is a subscription-based guest WiFi solution that provides hardware, management, and support. It is an especially attractive option for growing businesses preferring operational costs over capital investments, as it is supremely easy to scale.
Thanks to ongoing updates, monitoring, and support, Wifi as a Service offers a hands-off networking solution that businesses without in-house IT departments find especially convenient.
With cloud-based WiFi solutions, your guest WiFi network is managed through the cloud — providing immense flexibility. Cloud-based WiFi gives you real-time monitoring, analytics, and centrally managed updates and patches.
This guest WiFi solution is a great option for businesses seeking a greater degree of control through a user-friendly dashboard, even without technical expertise. Cloud-based WiFi also shines in terms of flexibility and scalability, and it’s a common choice for businesses with multiple locations thanks to its centralized management.
It’s hard to imagine a business that wouldn’t benefit from the advantages of a guest WiFi network. Every business is part of a global whole, from airports to hotels, from fitness centers to healthcare facilities, and from corporate headquarters to football stadiums. The nexus? Your guest WiFi network.
Guest WiFi networks offer unique opportunities to connect, improve customer satisfaction, and drive sales through personalized marketing campaigns. They allow you to collect valuable data that unlocks the secrets to your customers’ needs, allowing you to understand their needs better than ever.
As miraculous as modern WiFi is, there’s no denying that not every business WiFi solution is right for you. In choosing a solution that grows with your business and seamlessly integrates with your goals, you’re well on your way to future-proofing success.
Together, we’ll build the guest WiFi network that gets you there. Are you ready for the future?