Are you looking for places with free WiFi? We’ve all been there — scrambling for a bit of WiFi to quickly send an email or look at Google Maps. And while mobile data often comes in clutch, nothing quite beats public WiFi hotspots.
So many places offer a WiFi network for visitors to connect to for free. You could visit restaurants like Taco Bell or independent coffee shops. Even places like supermarkets and shopping centers now fit the free WiFi bill.
So, what exactly is the benefit of WiFi hopping as a customer versus offering free WiFi as a business? Why do both parties benefit from this dynamic?
In this guide, we’ll introduce the logic behind WiFi access points in public places. We’ll cover where you can commonly find free WiFi, benefits for the business, and WiFi marketing. Are you ready? Then let’s dive in.
Who Has Free WiFi?
First things first, let’s answer the age-old conundrum: Where can I go to get free WiFi? Who has free WiFi? When researching what places have WiFi, you typically find the following list: coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, and public services. For instance, you can find a public WiFi network at Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds.
However, you can also find free WiFi at independent coffee venues and on trains or public transport stations. There’s even WiFi on buses in certain countries. There’s no comprehensive list or WiFi map. It varies by venue; these are places you should keep an eye out for:
- Fast food chains
- Retail stores
- Coffee shops
- Public stations
- Government buildings
Generally, you’ll find free WiFi wherever people pause to Google directions or want mobile entertainment. Whatever gets people wondering how to get free WiFi — for entertainment or practical reasons. Businesses think ahead to anticipate whether there’s a customer need for free WiFi. They address this by providing a free network. As such, a good rule of thumb is whether you need WiFi in a particular place. If it makes sense to have WiFi, the business has thought ahead and provided it.
Certain things vary business by business, like download speeds and internet speed. Smaller companies with fewer customers correlate with faster free WiFi. Some businesses might advertise free WiFi with ‘WiFi here’ signs or QR codes.
For others, you have to go and check available WiFi networks in your settings — looking for names like ‘Free WiFi Tescos.’ For others, you may need to ask a member of staff, which is popular at restaurants and cafes. Lots of places have free WiFi but don’t openly advertise it. Be aware that you need to ask sometimes.
The Benefit of Public Places With Free WiFi
What is the main benefit of public places with free WiFi? We know the benefit of free WiFi for guests and customers — you can browse for free. But how do the businesses themselves benefit? In two words, WiFi marketing.
WiFi marketing is simply using the power of WiFi to further your business. The most popular way to market using WiFi is by controlling access to the WiFi network itself. For instance, by creating a captive portal system.
This captive portal system acts as a sieve, letting users through but keeping valuable details. Customers have to input details into a form to access their WiFi network. This form is the captive portal, a web page pop-up that bars further access. To pass through, guests have to input their details.
By offering a free WiFi space, businesses can utilize this captive portal system to collect marketing details. You can then funnel these details into a vast database, which you can extract when necessary for marketing campaigns.
For instance, collecting email addresses for email marketing. Or phone numbers for SMS marketing. Free WiFi allows you to build a goldmine-like database of customer contact details. What’s not to love?
Therefore, the main benefit of free WiFi is that you get to create the foundations for further marketing campaigns. It lays the foundations for future success.
These are a few more benefits, though. While collecting marketing details through captive portals is the primary benefit, these are extra benefits.
- You keep customers happy since free WiFi is an expectation these days.
- You attract more customers — appealing to a group looking for free WiFi wherever they go.
- You keep your private networks secure by offering a separate guest WiFi network.
Key Factors to Consider When Using Free WiFi
Before you rush off and offer (or use) free WiFi, though, there are some significant considerations. In this section, we’ll give you a quick brief on the top things to consider when using free WiFi.
Security is a huge deal when using or offering free WiFi. If you provide a guest WiFi system, you must invest in adequate security software and measures. Many measures exist, including creating strong passwords and encrypting your network name. As a guest user, you should also take preventive steps, like avoiding checking your bank account on free WiFi.
Permissions is another biggie. For guest users, remember that you are likely agreeing to marketing correspondence through captive portals. Nothing is ever truly ‘free’. Note the fine print to see what permissions you are giving.
For businesses, consider the permissions you give those using your WiFi hotspots. For instance, will you let them stream videos? Will you put certain restrictions on how people use your WiFi?
Final Thoughts: The Power of Free WiFi
Finally, let’s finish with the power of free WiFi. What exactly can you achieve with this tool? In short, providing free WiFi is a way of playing on the necessity of digital connectivity. Customers want to remain connected to the outside world — whether for social, entertainment, or practical purposes.
Businesses offer that connection for free, but it actually carries a cost — marketing. Customers access WiFi in exchange for their valuable details, meaning both parties benefit in a non-financial exchange.
WiFi has the power to offer mutually beneficial connections. Businesses connect with customers for future marketing, and customers connect with the digital realm for instant gratification.
At Beambox, we run an excellent all-in-one WiFi marketing platform that allows you to do precisely this. You can use Beambox to start up a captive portal system to harness the power of WiFi immediately. Start your Beambox free trial now, and join the smart list of places with free WiFi.
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