Offering free Wi-Fi in bars has become essential to business

Piture by Alejandro Escamilla

Why Wi-Fi is as essential to bars as booze

While the presence of smartphones and other connected devices in clubs and bars is undeniable today, it’s amazing how many proprietors haven’t worked out how essential a high-quality Wi-Fi connection is to their business. For now it’s about standing out from the crowd, but once the industry has got wise to the benefits, a free, high-speed Wi-Fi connection will be essential for keeping up with the competition.

Give customers what they want

The demand for Wi-Fi isn’t going away any time soon. The world is rapidly moving online, and consumers are becoming more and more reliant on their connected devices as a result. This means that consumers are continually looking for faster access to the content they crave, whether that information is professional or recreational. As with any such service, if a business drops the ball and either refuses to change, or doesn’t understand what its customers want, consumers will simply look for the service elsewhere.

The necessity of installing Wi-Fi is underlined by the number of bars and pubs that have already made the jump – big names such as JD Wetherspoon, Thorley Taverns and The Slug and Lettuce as well as hundreds of other establishments.

While being a popular facility in itself, it’s also becoming increasingly apparent that many consumers see internet access as a key part of their pub or bar experience. A BT survey found that not only did 61% of Brits actively search for a Wi-Fi hotspot while out eating and drinking, but 49% would ideally be updating social media via Wi-Fi as well.

There are very few downsides for businesses that utilise these services. With the right security measures in place, the public, and their service can receive protection from malicious software, while initiatives also exist to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content over open Wi-Fi connections.

Support existing services

Having a free-to-use Wi-Fi service installed in your establishment doesn’t just bring in extra punters because you offer something that they desire – it can also support and enhance the services that your business is already providing.

One great example of this can be found in the number of special offers that are accessible via the internet. For example, anyone who checks in on Facebook could be entitled to two-for-one cocktails.

Regardless of whether this promotional information is dispatched through email or made available on a specific web page, allowing customers free and easy-to-access internet makes it a cinch for them to discover and utilise any deals that you’re offering. Make no mistake, the demand for such services are very much there: BT found that 28% of those who used Wi-Fi while at a pub, bar or restaurant did so to access discounts or vouchers for the food or drink on offer.

As well as promoting offers and discounts, in-bar Wi-Fi can also be used to upsell customers to other services and products. If a businessman walks in for a quick drink, logs onto the free Wi-Fi service found inside and the initial landing page displays a new addition to the menu, or a food-related promotion, he may be tempted to stay a bit longer.

In the same way, if the Wi-Fi landing page is instead promoting the drinking/social side of things, a customer that’s eating food at the time of logging-in may well be tempted to stay for drinks if they see a karaoke night (or something similar) being advertised in the same way. Using a Wi-Fi landing page in this manner offers a great deal of versatility, putting adverts and marketing materials directly in front of attentive consumers.

With all these potential benefits on offer, it’s not just about keeping up with the competition, but excelling in an ever-competitive market.

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