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Wi-Fi Analytics Unlock New Opportunities for Hoteliers

Wi-Fi networks provide hoteliers a wealth of data to create a personalized guest experience. This article from Aptilo Networks will discuss new opportunities for hotels in today’s era of data capture through Wi-Fi, and how to leverage this information to generate revenue while strengthening brand loyalty.
Wi-Fi has become one of the most important business assets to drive hotel loyalty and profitability. Wi-Fi is the #1 desired amenity by travelers and, with the growth of the “silent traveler” segment (guests who interact with your hotel and your brand primarily online), Wi-Fi is becoming the most effective way to connect with guests.
Wi-Fi Calling has magnified the importance of Wi-Fi now that many users depend on Wi-Fi for voice calls at indoor locations with weak cellular coverage. So travelers – carrying multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices that stream high-bandwidth media – expect their hotel Wi-Fi to be as fast and reliable as what they enjoy at home.
Hotels can no longer provide minimal, “coffee shop”-type Wi-Fi. It needs to be carrier-class, meaning what users typically get from a tier 1 carrier like Verizon or AT&T.
Wi-Fi to Build Brand Loyalty
This demand creates opportunities for hotels to use the Wi-Fi service to build brand loyalty. It’s estimated that 80% of guests won’t return to a hotel that delivers a bad technology experience. When your brand becomes synonymous with a superior, hassle-free technology experience, travelers will seek you out for their next stay.   
Think of Wi-Fi as a sales and mar­keting tool. It starts with your web portal, where guests first connect with your hotel. Portals that deliver timely information such as the restaurant’s soup of the day are more likely to engage guests and create that important connection with your brand. The Wi-Fi service management platform must be designed so that these kinds of portal changes can be made “on the fly.”
Wi-Fi Analytics
Information coming in from your Wi-Fi service can be invaluable in building a real interaction between your brand and guests. Wi-Fi data used to be divided into silos – there were specific applications that gathered and used data. These applications never shared information with other data-gathering silos. For example, a Wi-Fi access point (AP) would obtain location information (i.e., John’s Wi-Fi device was in the conference hall this morning). The AP typically wouldn’t share this data with other parts of the network that might, say, interact with your PMS system.
Imagine the benefit of feeding that data into marketing vehicles to engage guests. A user case illustrates the impact for hoteliers:
Jane checks into a hotel for a sales conference and logs in to the guest Wi-Fi service using her Facebook profile.
The data from Jane’s public Facebook profile allows you to personalize her web experience to build loyalty.
Since it’s her first time with this hotel brand, Jane is forwarded to a page to sign up for the loyalty program. She receives premium Wi-Fi free at this visit as an appreciation.
Integration with the CRM/PMS system for ongoing marketing. Also, offering free high-speed Wi-Fi builds loyalty.
Headed to the conference, Jane receives an SMS on her smartphone welcoming her to the event and offering information about the upcoming keynote.
Access points trigger the Wi-Fi service management platform to send this relevant information to Jane.
Analytics and Centralization
Analytics about Wi-Fi data usage can be managed on a single dashboard to show data use across all hotel properties. Which of your hotels are the top data users per device? Also, the hotel as a brand may want to understand why hotels have very low data usage per guest or per device. Further, exporting data usage by day allows the hotel to compare numbers of guests logging in against occupancy.  
Wi-Fi service management used to be a tool primarily for the IT department. Captive portals were designed to block internet access and make sure that you could charge customers before getting them online. All that has changed. Now Wi-Fi is a business tool, it’s all about getting insights about your guests to better engage with them online.
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