How to Capture Email on WiFi for Restaurants
The ability to capture email on WiFi for restaurants has been around since WiFi became a thing many years ago. However it is still not widely implemented by most hospitality businesses. There are two reasons why this may still be the case. The first reason is that there is a perception that it will turn customers off if you ask them to complete a sign up form before getting access to WiFi. The second barrier is the feeling from the restaurant, bar or hotel owner that it is too difficult to implement or they simply do not know how to do it. In the following paragraphs we will explain the reasons why these barriers should not be relevant, as well as outlining in detail in the benefits and reasons to capture email on WiFi for restaurants, bars and hotels.
If you would like to skip all the detail, and talk to one of the MyPlace team about building a substantial marketing asset for your hospitality business, then you can book a demo here or check out our WiFi CRM product
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No Good Reasons
The first reason why there may be a resistance to implementing WiFi email capture is that it may turn customers off. This is simply not a good enough excuse for your business to miss out on the huge value that this data can offer. Would customers rather have an open WiFi signal? Probably, yes…and they would also like their first drink to be free and lots of other things too. They are simply not going to get up from their table and leave to go somewhere else because your free WiFi service has a sign up form. If you keep it simple, only ask for the bare minimum amount of data and offer social login options then the process will take less than 15 seconds. Good WiFi Marketing providers should make it easier for guests and only open a portal once, on their first visit and they should get online directly. just like home WiFi, on each subsequent visit.
Setting up is Quick and Easy
The second reason that hospitality owners may be hesitant is because they do not know how to get started, and feel constrained from a technical perspective. In reality it is really simple and easy to get set up. The first step is to ask your IT guy as they will be most familiar with your current network environment. It is highly likely that you are using an established WiFi manufacturer equipment already in your venue. Almost all WiFi hardware manufacturers have partners who can provide marketing add on’s like WiFi data capture for their customers. MyPlace for example, have built a WiFi Marketing solution for Ubiquiti UniFi, one of the most popular and best value WiFi systems available. If you have this in your hospitality business, you will almost certainly recognize them for their distinctive space ship disc shape and illuminating circular blue light, just like the image below. These units are not prohibitively expensive, and can be purchased for around $150 each which would provide enough WiFi coverage for a small restaurant.
As outlined above, you will need WiFi equipment that is capable of working with a third party WiFi Marketing company like MyPlace Connect. Typically your business will have a standard modem router, that comes with your business broadband package. So if it is Comcast, or At&T they will provide a basic business modem router that you connect to your phone line or cable connection. Some restaurants and bars will only have this, but this will not be sufficient. You will need some WiFi access points, also known as repeaters to connect into your business modem router or another wireless router to provide the signal. There are so many internet dependent functions in the modern bar or restaurant now, that if you don’t have this additional network infrastructure you are going to need it soon. Hotels will almost certainly already have this in place. If you don’t have this equipment, you can go out and buy for around $150. We recommend this unit from Ubiquiti which will work to create a UniFi Hotspot service using the MyPlace platform. If you have an existing IT network then simply ask your IT guy or gal what your options are
Capture Email on WiFi for Restaurants Benefits
Before we launch in to the series of benefits to capturing email on WiFi for restaurants, there is one overriding factor that has to be first considered. The hospitality business is a tough business, and it is well known that many restaurants will fail. There are so many factors that work against a hospitality owner, from competition, online review platforms, margin eating delivery platforms and slow midweek nights that they need to take every advantage they can get. One of the biggest single game changing resources that you can have in your list of assets is your customer data. Think about how little information you actually have on your customers. You might recognize some of your best customers, but can you send a message to them if you need to. You cannot depend on Facebook or Instagram, but more on that later. Data is the new oil, and unless your restaurant has its own source, you could lose control of your future market access
Customer Email is Number One
The single best thing that a good WiFi CRM or WiFi Marketing service can offer is the ability to capture verified customer email addresses. All of the other features that they offer will simply be a value add on top of this key ability. Almost all businesses now realize the power of their customer data and are going to great lengths to build a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for the hospitality business, but have you noticed how it is getting harder to get your posts listed and viewed. Even Twitter is pushing a new “recent tweets” feature that pretty much makes it very difficult for your post to reach your intended audience. Want to know why this is happening? Simply put, we all have a limited amount of attention time, and there are advertisers that are willing to pay the social media platforms for attention in your customers timelines. This trend is only going to accelerate. You do not own your Facebook or Instagram following, Facebook does, and they can turn the tap on and off as they please. The only way to build a truly valuable and lasting audience is to have direct link to your guests and have their email address.
Generate Online Reviews
With the all important customer email, you can connect into the online review platforms that influence and shape the hospitality industry. Using the customer email, WiFi Marketing platforms, like MyPlace Connect can automatically issue invitations to your customer to leave a review on your platform of choice, a set amount of time after they leave the restaurant, bar or hotel. TripAdvisor and Yelp are among the most popular and the number of TripAdvisor reviews can be increased by over 400% when linked to your WiFi hotspot service. Coming quickly into prominence is Google reviews, and at MyPlace, we believe that this will be a significant influence in this space in the years to come, specifically with augmented reality and the ability to see reviews in real time on a camera. Getting more google reviews for your business is going to be critical to achieve visibility and ranking.
Guest Loyalty Indicators
With a good WiFi CRM and Marketing platform, you will have access to valuable loyalty metrics on your customers. The ability to capture email on WiFi for restaurants can provide stats like visit frequency and date of first and last visit allow you to create powerful campaigns, based on the status of the customer. For example, you could easily segment any customer who hadn’t visited your restaurant, bar or hotel in 6 months and send them a special welcome back offer, giving you another chance to turn them into loyal customers. Similarily, you could frequent visitors or loyal customers an email asking them to sign up for your loyalty card, thereby increasing sales and profit margins
Feedback Channel for Customers
Getting feedback form customers is critical, and not always easy to execute. It is also preferable to get any negative feedback privately, instead of a public forum like TripAdvisor. The Net Promoter Score feature, recently launched by MyPlace automatically sends a request to a customer after they visit, asking them how likely they are to recommend a venue to a friend. This powerful loyalty indicator provides an accurate measurement of a customers likelihood of leaving a positive or negative review. Combing this information with automated online review generation can provide powerful results both internally and in public review platforms
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This ability could also be compared to Google Analytics for bricks and mortar venues. It will provide a high level anonymous view of the general population of customers in your restaurant. With a good WiFi Marketing and Analytics service you can see the percentage of new users vs returning users in your restaurant over a period of time. These stats are independent of the actual WiFi registration process and capture all people in the venue, regardless of whether they sign up for WiFi or not. Unlike WiFi signup, the presence analytics feature is entirely anonymous
Capture Email on WiFi for Restaurants, Bars and Hotels
We have touched on several elements in this piece, from breaking down the typical barriers against email capture for restaurants to the specific how to and the benefits of WiFi Marketing. The benefits are clear, and the risk is very low. Getting started is not difficult, and if you do not have the equipment you can buy for as little a $150. A typical WiFi CRM and Marketing service like MyPlace costs only $49 per month and that includes all of the features outlined today. With the benefits being so high, and the risks and costs being so low, this is an easy win for your hospitality business.
Would you like to learn more about the MyPlace WiFi CRM and Marketing product for restaurants, bars and hotels? We can assist you with setting up your UniFi equipment or linking it to the MyPlace service. You can schedule in a live demo with one of our team right here