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Enhance Guest Experience And Increases Sales With Guest WiFi

Restaurants and coffee shops constantly seek new ways to attract new customers and increase dwell time, particularly during quieter periods. If managed well, patrons spending more time inside your establishment can increase average spend and attract passing trade. In addition, WiFi Access  improves customer experience and attract patrons across all generations and not just Millennials.

Research conducted by OpenTable found that two in five people would not go to a restaurant if it didn’t offer guest WiFi access. Further research by BT found that:

  • 61 per cent of people look for a WiFi hotspot when choosing a place to eat and drink
  • 20 per cent said they would buy more in the food outlet if guest WiFi access was provided
  • 27 per cent stated they would visit more regularly
  • 36 per cent said they would visit the place again

Other surveys reveal:

  • 53 percent of people are happy to sit alone in restaurants and cafes if guest WiFi is available
  • One in 10 people leave the venue in the absence of free guest WiFi access

The desire and need for free WiFi are evident. Moreover, customers expect it and the service is now the norm. Guests can browse without fear of using their data allowance – thus saving them money. Some guests are likely to stay longer and purchase more if they can check emails, work, study and socialize using free WiFi.

What are the considerations before installing free Guest WiFi Access?

  • Public free WiFi and Business WiFi should never be the same. They should be separated by a firewall with rules that protect both. This will protect against data breaches and hacks into your systems such as POS, CRM etc.
  • For further security, ensure a password is required for connection, install anti-malware and antivirus protections, do not display WiFi passwords in view of customers. Encourage customers to ask for passwords at the service counter or print passwords on receipts to encourage purchases and change password regularly.
  • Consider how much bandwidth you may need. As a guide, on average based on 15 users on anyone time, you will need 1.8 Mbps. The amount of bandwidth will depend on what type of surfing is done.
  • To reduce the risk of customers using WiFi without buying and taking up valuable seating space, consider limiting free WiFi for 30 minutes to 1 hour during busy periods.

4 steps to get started with WiFi Access:

Step one

Contact your broadband provider or public WiFi providers such as Fon, The Cloud and BT WiFi for costs and the right level of service and features for your restaurant, pub or cafe. They can provide the hardware for public WiFi and help install. Ensure your broadband package has unlimited downloads and a fibre optic line so that speed and capacity is not affected with high number of users.

Step two 

When public WiFi is set up, using your router setting, set up multiple networks on the same broadband connection for your, staff, customer and business to run your systems. Assign a section of bandwidth to each one. This ensures you’ll always have good enough internet for all users.

Step three

Set up a hotspot gateway – with a gateway, a guest will select your WiFi network on their device and get automatically taken to a ‘captive portal’ web page on their browser. To use the internet, users must enter their email address, pay a fee, provide a password or just accept terms and conditions. This authorization process allows guest users to safely and securely access WiFi. A hotspot gateway can come in the form of hardware, or a router with special firmware and software installed on it.

Step four

Keep public WiFi secure and safe for users and your business. Whichever method you choose for your hotspot gateway. Follow the providers and manufacturers security advice.

Once it’s sufficiently secure, your WiFi is ready to go.