Why, it seems only just a few short days ago that we were writing about enabling Facebook Wifi checkin for your business. As many of our readers know, the world of the internet moves fast and furious.. In just that short time, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg found himself being grilled on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC over data concerns with their social media platform. Shortly afterwards, UK pub giant Wetherspoons announced that they would be shutting down all of their social media accounts.
So should hospitality owners be worried? Short answer, NO.
Although the growth in Facebook has slowed in 2018, in truth, it’s still the largest social media platform out there, used by over 2 BILLION people. That’s almost one quarter of the population of the planet. That being said, after the revelations of the past couple of weeks, users may have some concerns with using Facebook and may start posting with less frequency. At least for a while.
What Facebook does with customer data is beyond your control. What you CAN do, however, is offer your customers a fast, safe and convenient Wifi connection so they can access their Facebook accounts. To that end, you have a number of different ways that you can let customers connect to your networks. You can give out the password so everyone can connect freely, you can let your customers login via a social network like Facebook or Twitter, or you can ask them for certain data, like their email and/or post code, in return for unlimited Wifi.
Let’s take a look at these in light of recent concerns and see which might be best for your hospitality business.
This is still how many hospitality and retail businesses are running nowadays. There’s typically a password written on a wall or menu somewhere which allows users to connect. The benefits of this type of network are obvious – it’s easy for anyone to connect. The bad part about this type of network is that….it’s easy for anyone to connect. Hackers looking to steal data can easily connect to the network and, with a Wifi hacking device like a pineapple, easily intercept your data.
SOCIAL MEDIA LOGIN
In this type of connection, a user logs into a Wifi network by authenticating against one a social network like Facebook or Twitter. The benefits of this type of connection is that, for one, it’s somewhat more secure than a network with an open password and, since nearly everyone has a social media account, it’s easy for users to connect to your Wifi network. But connections aren’t free and, in most cases, buy connecting trhough a social media network, the user then will broadcast their connections to their friends on the network.
For example, a user that connects with a Facebook login will have their location announced to their Facebook friends. Until now, this wasn’t a big deal, but, as we’ve seen with the recent Facebook news, users might be less and less willing to share their data.
Social media login is one of the ways that Wifi users can authenticate to Wifi through our BLACKBX platform. It’s popular with a number of our customers. But, an even more powerful and flexible way for your customers to connect to Wifi is through the use of a captive portal.
CAPTIVE PORTAL LOGIN
Here’s how it works: when a user enters your location, they connect to your Wifi. Once connected, a browser opens prompting the user for their email address. This is so the user can be verified through our BLACKBX platform before the Wifi allows them to connect. In addition to their email address, capitive portal solutions can ask for additional information, like sex, age and post codes.
Although this may seem intrusive, most users have no problem with providing some user data in return for free Wifi. And, if you let them know that by providing you with their email address, you’ll use the data to keep them informed of upcoming offeres or specials, they’ll be happy to give it to you.
The other benefit of a captive portal is that once a customer is logged in, they stay logged in. Even better, if you have BLACKBX deployed in multiple locations – let’s say a chain of pubs – they can stay connected from venue to venue (pub crawl, anyone) without ever having to login to the Wifi!
WHICH SOLUTION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
That depends on your business and your needs.
If you’re looking to just provide Wifi to increase dwell time at your hospitality or retail business, then you can go with an open network or social media login. These type of networks are easy to setup and require little or no upkeep. But if you’re looking to turn an expense into an asset, then providing your customers with a captive Wifi portal is the solution for you. By colletcting email and other data from your users, you can land, expand and grow your business.
What are you waiting for? Your business isn’t going to grow itself.