Would You Swap Your Email Address for Wi-Fi?

We’ve heard it time and time (and time) again over the past couple of years – guests are demanding at least a basic level of free Wi-Fi. As hoteliers begin to acknowledge this demand, they are looking for other ways to monetize their guest Internet, and they’ve started to get creative.

Email is arguably a marketer’s most important tool for communication. From social media sites to department stores, everyone is asking for your email address. Now high-end hotels, like Public Chicago and Viceroy New York, are jumping onboard. With help from Eleven’s guest Internet management software, ElevenOS, they are serving up Internet access in exchange for an email address. The process is simple and pain-free for guests and the opt-in email addresses become part of the hotel’s valuable marketing database. The hotels then utilize email marketing to promote deals, share hotel news, and simply to keep in touch and foster guest loyalty.

The industry is seeing other exchanges as well. Social media actions, like Twitter follows and Facebook likes get you Internet access at some hotels. Other, more aggressive, programs ask for loyalty program registration in exchange for Wi-Fi access. With all the exchanges, hotels decide whether to grant access for a day, length of stay, or another period of time.

When comparing the acquisition costs of collecting email addresses and other guest information to the cost of free Wi-Fi, it typically works out in the hotel’s favor. There are also less tangible benefits of giving guests access to free Wi-Fi, including repeat stays and guest loyalty.

What is connecting with your guests worth to you?