Guest Internet

Guest Wi-Fi: How can businesses benefit and gain additional revenue?

March 22, 2024

Guest Wi-Fi aged well. What’s next for businesses?

This year, the World Wide Web turned 35 years. Since its inception in 1989, the Internet has changed everything, especially business, and nowadays, fast-speed and stable Wi-Fi is a must-have for HoReCa and healthcare to give customers an extra reason to patronize your place. So how can business owners today leverage the broadband package of services from a local ISP to gain additional revenue? Tried to find an answer to this question. Furthermore, we’ll introduce Powerlynx as the ultimate solution for hotspot management and Wi-Fi monetization.

Guest Wi-Fi: What is it, and why is it so important today?

Guest Wi-Fi is all about providing customers with internet access separate from your business’s main network, offering them private and secure hotspots. Service has become crucial in terms of improving customer experiences and satisfaction (encouraging longer stays, increasing the likelihood of repeat visits, and gaining a competitive advantage, particularly in regions where internet access might not be a given). For example, cafes and restaurants can attract more customers, increasing the length of stay and the total customer check. In retail, customers can access product information and reviews online to make more informed purchasing decisions, enhancing their shopping experience, as Apple does with the Genius Bar in their stores.

At the same time, it’s a double-edged sword, particularly in developing countries where the digital divide is more pronounced. On the one hand, it presents a golden opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction, gather valuable data, and even generate new revenue streams. On the other, as always, it introduces a set of challenges, especially when it comes to management and operations (central networks management, billing, user management, limitations etc).

Unlocking digital doors for customer engagement and revenue

Guest Wi-Fi acts as a magnet in attracting customers, keeping them engaged, encouraging repeat visits, and increasing loyalty, especially in locations where internet access might not be readily available or expected. Moreover, it opens up numerous avenues for monetization — from displaying targeted ads and promos upon login to offering tiered access levels for different user needs.

Monetization: Turning Wi-Fi into Revenue

Today, businesses can monetize their guest Wi-Fi directly and indirectly. As for direct revenue streams, the main ways are:

  • Paid Wi-Fi Access: premium internet access as a paid option with multiple tiers: offering basic Wi-Fi for free and charging for premium plans such as faster download speeds, higher data limits, and secure access.
  • Sponsored Content and Promotions: Partnerships with brands to display sponsored content or promo on the Wi-Fi login page can serve as an advertising platform, generating additional income.

As for indirect revenue generation:

  • Targeted Advertising: By analyzing customer data and internet usage patterns, businesses can display personalized advertisements, increasing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. They can also show ads from paid partner programs and gain additional revenue flow.
  • Direct Marketing: Collecting email addresses or phone numbers during the Wi-Fi sign-up process for building marketing lists and engaging customers with personalized offers and updates.

So how can guest Wi-Fi enhance the customer experience and businesses benefit simultaneously?

For businesses, the data gathered through Wi-Fi usage can offer invaluable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends, enabling more effective marketing strategies and personalized customer experiences. Here are some examples that successfully leveraged guest Wi-Fi:

  • Starbucks: Wi-Fi for Loyalty. Perhaps one of the brightest and most successful examples. The coffee giant launched Wi-Fi in its stores among the first, encouraging customers to stay longer. As a result, it’s increased foot traffic and boosted the average spend per customer. It also played a vital role in the success of its rewards program, with customers often logging in to the Wi-Fi network to check their rewards status or order ahead.
  • Retailers overall: Wi-Fi for analytics. Many brick-and-mortar retailers use Wi-Fi analytics to understand their customers better and deliver an individual shopping experience. Gathering insights on popular products and peak shopping hours helps with strategies to improve store layout, product placement, and advertising campaigns. American retailer Nordstrom is one of the known examples of a business that uses Wi-Fi analytics to improve its in-store operations and tailor personalized marketing messages.
  • London Underground and Airports worldwide: Wi-Fi with advertisements, promo for various businesses and paid internet access. The strategy combining access to the Wi-Fi network with viewing short ads (15-30 sec) not only allowed London Underground to offset the costs of providing free Wi-Fi, but also opened up a new revenue stream in the form of advertising partnerships. Meantime, airports worldwide have been leveraging Wi-Fi marketing. While connecting, passengers are displayed with information about retail outlets, dining options, and airport services. This strategy simultaneously enhances passenger’s experience and promotes the airport’s various businesses.

The Challenge: Three-Body Problem

However, the path to monetizing Guest Wi-Fi might be with challenges. The main ones are:

Infrastructure Costs: The initial setup and ongoing maintenance can be expensive.

Security and Compliance: Implementing robust security measures to protect user data and comply with privacy laws.

Monetization and Wi-Fi hotspot management: Getting the right solution to efficiently manage multiple hotspots ensuring consistent service quality.

Powerlynx: a go-to tool to manage them all

Hotspot management platform

Powerlynx is made by the Splynx team, a leader in ISP billing and network management with over 8 years of experience, trusted by 900+ internet providers globally. Designed to empower ISPs and businesses together, it covers all aspects of hotspot billing and management (as well as advanced analytics) in the most convenient way.

What’s in a single tool for hotspot billing and management?

Hotspot software features

6 Main Advantages

  • Fully cloud-based software: Fast startup and easy management without costly server infrastructure or technical expertise.
  • Effortless setup & use: A three-step setup provides the ability to customize everything and go live within just one day.
  • Hardware agnostic: Compatibility with leading network vendors.
  • Cost-effective pricing model: Subscription-based, with pricing directly linked to required network capacity (up to 100 simultaneous online users for an entry-level plan $25 /month, scaling the license in 100-user intervals).
  • Easily accept payments: Integration with popular payment systems: PayPal, Stripe, Payfast, Pay@, Safaricom MPESA (Kenya).  The team is actively adding new payment systems and features every month. Plus, possibility to generate custom vouchers for cash-only venues.
  • Free trial: A 21-day trial to evaluate the Powerlynx software.

Conclusion: where’s it headed next

Wi-Fi Hotspot Market is forecasted to be worth $4.7 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.00%. It presents a very lucrative way to open new revenue streams for businesses in developing countries, but also a unique set of challenges that need to be navigated carefully. The key to success lies in crafting Wi-Fi offerings that are accessible, secure, and tailored to the specific needs and conditions of the local market. Overcoming them requires innovative solutions, strategic partnerships, and a commitment to investing in infrastructure. With the right approach, Guest Wi-Fi can indeed be more of a benefit than a challenge.

The appearance of Powerlynx on the market should be considered comprehensively: it is a ready-to-use solution that doesn’t require costly server infrastructure or technical expertise, flexible configuration of tariff plans, detailed graphs and reports, and human support service. Is this your option? Then, Powerlynx is your Wi-Fi Hotspot Software.

Looking ahead, regardless of further development vectors and Internet access technologies, there’s no question Guest Wi-Fi will endure and evolve. Perhaps we can’t reinvent the guest Wi-Fi — just make it less horrible to manage and more suitable to monetize. Both businesses and end users will benefit from this.