Generating Revenue with Free Wi-Fi | Part IV: Advertising

By Andrew Yorra, VP of Business Development, Eleven Wireless |

Advertising is another great area where hoteliers can generate more revenue. A tool that is gaining popularity is sponsored Wi-Fi, where guests can enjoy free Internet, but they must either watch an advertisement prior to connecting or ads will be periodically served during their session. Any hotel considering advertising should think carefully about their guest experience and survey the landscape. For example, there is patent litigation involving the delivery of ads as a condition to free Wi-Fi, and hotels should carefully consider their risks in implementing this sort of solution.

Those hotels interested in inserting ads during the session, should explore the various options available. One common tool inserts a persistent web-based toolbar into the guest's browser window that delivers relevant ads during the guest sessions. Another takes a different route, by overlaying ads on top of ads that exist on the web page being visited by the guest so that a guest sees the hotel-provided ads on rather than those delivered by CNN itself. Some have questioned the legality of this practice, and it's worth discussing with your legal counsel or advisers. The major caveat with advertising is that it should be limited to those guests with free service. Guests will not tolerate paying for Internet AND having advertisements…so make sure it is an either/or proposition.