Saguaro Hotspot

MONETIZE YOUR WIFI

If You Think "Free WiFi" Is Expensive, You're Doing It Wrong.

Saguaro Hotspot - Social WiFi - Restaurants

June 20, 2017

Oh, the Humanities!

Hint: "Point-of-Sale" Companies Are NOT the Most Reliable Source for Information on WiFi.

I was heartened by the title question: "Should Restaurants Offer Free Wi-Fi?"  I fully expected to see an article raving  about the benefits of a state- of-the-art WiFi system.  It IS 2017.  So, I was more than a little stunned when I read - in the second paragraph - "But just because your restaurant runs on Wi-Fi doesn’t mean you have to offer Wi-Fi to your customers in turn."

To be fair, the article did, in the midst of detailing "Why not", offer arguments in favor of offering WiFi.  Yet, the focus seemed clear.

"You shouldn't, but if you must..."

"Over a 10-year period, one restaurant's turnover rate increased almost an hour because cutomers were taking pictures of food, or pausing to check their phones" (paraphrased).  The assumption here is that WiFi makes people do those things.
The "solutions" they suggested:

  • Limit seating space. (Yeah, that'll help, won't it?).
  • Limit access time. (Appropriate for fine dining, perhaps, but not a sports bar, or retailer, or most others.)

Referencing "the first episode of Mr. Robot", security risks came up. (Security can be an issue. As the article points out, real life hackers possess a skill set that makes retrieving account information, passwords, and behavior easy. But there ARE ways to avoid that.)
The "solutions" they suggested:

  • encrypt, and set up WiFi (the article specified "your computer") to automatically log out after 15 minutes of inactivity .  But if you're offering free WiFi, 900 seconds of inactivity is unlikely, at best.)
  • Don't offer WiFi (but if you must...), or "cloak" it, giving the name and password only to those who ask for it. (Because a hacker won't think to do that?)
  • Use anti-malware and anti-virus programs. (While "protection" is always a good idea, the likelihood of attack arises more from users that were hacked elsewhere.)

WiFi Disrupts Ambience.

"Don't offer it." (Seeing a trend, here?) Counterposing a "trend of slow-cooked food and locally sourced meals" against the unaddressed popularity of WiFi (84% want - and most demand - WiFi) the article gives no detailed reasoning.
The suggestions are to tell customers :

  • you prefer "an intimate customer experience". (Because what you want for them is so much more important than what they want.)
  • adjust their mindsets.
  • "get into the spirit of things." (Yeah, you tell 'em that. - Direct quote, BTW.)

(At this point, they go into pitching their POS system.)

A Modern "Social WiFi"  System Addresses Every Negative.

Concerned about "turnover rate"?  Time limits could be appropriate for fine dining (or other "high-dollar" venues). For others, there are ways to MONETIZE "dwellers" and turn "trespassers" into customers.

Security concerns?   "Encrypt and cloak" won't work. Better to use social media as the login portal . Seriously, the social media giants have a better security team.

Whatever you do, IGNORE THE "DON'T OFFER IT" crowd.   Smartphone users spent $ 600 MILLION exceeding their data limits in one year (a currently running commercial revolves around how much people have come to rely on streaming movies, etc). It's 2017. If you don't offer free WiFi, you'll just be sending them elsewhere.

On a FINAL point, the one thing right: A secure Point-of-Sale system is mandatory. DON'T EVER "JOIN" POS WITH FREE WIFI.

See you on social WiFi

WiFi: Your Best Marketing Tool

Certain combinations, chocolate and peanut butter, wine and cheese, or flowers and candy, just fit the description "a match made in heaven". Now you can add FREE WIFI and Social Connection to that list.


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