If you want to attract customers, offering free WiFi is the minimum requirement for your hotel. However, many business owners don’t take full advantage of it. Setting up a hotel captive portal is one of the most important steps to make it worthwhile.
After all, a lot of people will use your guest network. You can use the portal to collect customer data relevant to your business. Moreover, you’ll ensure they’re legitimate logins instead of hackers trying to steal from you.
If a hacker gets access to your network, your and your customers’ data will be at risk. If anything happens, they might hold you accountable. Let’s explore all its aspects in detail.
The Definition and Implementation of a Captive Portal
When you first hear the word captive portal, you might think of it as a highly technical topic.
But it’s simply a web page people see when connecting to a public WiFi. Without filling out the form on this web page, they can’t gain access to your guest’s wireless network.
On this page, you’ll let them authenticate by providing information of your choice. Doing so comes with benefits that we’ll discuss in the coming sections. But for now, let’s see how you can implement this feature in your guest network.
To implement a captive portal, the Admin Panel of your router or WiFi marketing solution has everything you need. Once you’re there, you’ll find captive portal or global configuration. Click whatever option you see to enable the captive portal for your network.
Customize your portal settings, like naming, password protection, and redirection options. You can do that by locating Portal Profiles or Portal Settings.
After that, you must customize it the way you want, possibly with your branding. Various website builders design hotel portals either through templates or custom designs. However, the most effective ones are never free.
Then, test the portal to see if it’s working. However, the process details might vary based on your network setup. Also, it might need some technical understanding. If you want to simplify your life, guest WiFi management software is the solution you need.
Top 4 Benefits of a Hotel Captive Portal
The data you gain from captive portals is more than just numbers and names. It’s an opportunity to improve your hotel’s service and enhance guests’ experience.
Besides, 84% of guests are more likely to book a room in a hotel that offers free WiFi. That leaves no question about the value of free internet access. In other words, without a hotel captive portal, you’ll be leaving money on the table. Here are the top four benefits and uses of these splash pages for hotel WiFi.
1. Take Control Over Your Guest WiFi
As mentioned earlier, you’ll have a lot of people connecting to your guest network. With so many people online, you might be unable to give the optimal speeds and quality. As a result, what you hoped would enhance your guests’ experience might frustrate them instead.
Moreover, some people take advantage of free WiFi and stay connected for hours. This way, they might take away your chance to serve other guests.
A captive portal lets you set bandwidth and usage limits. Once a user reaches that limit, you can automatically stop their session.
You can also control time restrictions, the number of users per session, and download speed. Such control won’t be possible if your guests just need to get the WiFi password to access the network.
2. It Gives You Insights About Your Guests
If you want to drive your hotel to success, you should always be looking for ways to improve it. But how will you do that without knowing what your guests like and dislike? A captive portal lets you collect data you can use in multiple ways. For example, you can create customer profiles with social media handles, names, email addresses, locations, and preferences.
You can also know which customers visit your hotel often. That would help send personalized offers in the future.
However, let the guests know what you’re collecting and how you’ll use it. Getting their consent for marketing messages would also be a good idea.
The data you collect can also help you in optimizing your marketing campaigns. When you know what type of customer visits your venue, you can leverage that knowledge for your ads.
While free WiFi is a promotion in itself, a captive portal can raise the bar here. Apart from customizing it with your hotel’s branding, it’s a chance to display marketing or informational messages.
For example, if you’ve recently launched a discount on stays longer than a week, mention that on the splash page.
Unless they make online bookings, many people visit the hotel prior to reserving a room. They’ll see this ad on the splash page as soon as they connect to your WiFi. And just like that, you might be able to convert a passerby into a paying guest.
On the other hand, if your hotel is hosting an event, create an ad for it. In return, you’ll fill the event and your hotel with guests.
To ensure these promotions work, use your customer database to create personalized ads.
4. Avoid Falling Into a Legal Mess
Lastly, a captive portal keeps you away from legal complications. As you know, users must accept the terms of usage before gaining access to your hotel’s WiFi network.
That way, they take the responsibility off your shoulders. Now, they’ll be accountable for everything they do and access the Internet.
You can trace it back to them if they conduct some prohibited activity, even accidentally. Winning the case will become easy with such a digital trail.
Plus, your government or law might have restricted some websites. If a guest accesses them through your network, the authorities might blame you.
But again, you’ll have a solid argument in the shape of the usage terms. Therefore, create guest WiFi terms and conditions that protect you from legal troubles. While creating comprehensive terms might require professional help, it is worth doing it right. Moreover, it’s something you’ll do once.
The Challenges of Implementing a Captive Portal
Offering free WiFi at your hotel comes with a lot of benefits. However, letting anyone and everyone connect to it isn’t the right decision. You must have control over the connection.
As you read, a hotel captive portal is one of the best ways to do this. You can use it for bandwidth control, user authentication, terms of usage, and promotional messages. However, it’s not always easy to implement these web pages. If you want to simplify your life, try out Beambox.
This WiFi marketing platform can help you automate your marketing campaign and your online reputation. Moreover, Beambox simplifies the securing of the network and does not require technical knowledge for it. Start your free trial today!
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