Perhaps you’ll remember the AA adverts that promoted themselves as the “fourth emergency service”? Well I believe we all have to think of wifi as the fourth utility we offer our customers after heat, light and water.
Pubs have always been about people ‘connecting’ with each other whether it’s just the after-work pint, family occasions or more recently to watch the ‘big match’. In this increasingly ‘connected’ world of internet, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook your customers are as likely to be engaging with the cyber-sphere on their smart-phones, tablets or laptops as their grandparents were to be found having a good old gossip and reading the daily newspaper in your pub.
To keep up with this sea-change in behaviour pubs need to make sure their ‘cyber-environment’ is as welcoming to customers as their physical environment. Recent market research and the roll-out of free wifi by pubcos and brewers to their tenants shows that providing your customers with wifi connectivity is essential to maintaining (and in some cases) increasing your customer base.
For instance research conducted by BT revealed that 87% of consumers have accessed the internet whilst at an eating or drinking site, and 55% accessed Wi-Fi using a smart phone, tablet or laptop in a food and beverage site (of which 49% were checking social media and 42% were catching up on news and sport).The most significant statistic from the market research, however, is that 61% of customers are actively seeking a wifi hotspot when out drinking and eating. By then end of 2014 it’s estimated two thirds of UK mobile phone users will be using a smartphone and by 2017 two thirds of the UK population will own a smartphone.
A recent survey involving 3,500 UK venues showed that, while 82% believed they were legally compliant, many were handing out passwords or operating with totally unrestricted networks. Of the surveyed venues, 58% were not running filtered content, allowing customers to access explicit content on the venue’s WiFi.
Gail Taylor, commercial executive at Admiral Taverns who are rolling out Purple Wi Fi to its 1,200 pubs, said: “It was critical for our licensees that we researched and recommended a WiFi solution that would protect them from customers accessing illegal content and Purple WiFi’s Premium product eliminates this risk through content filtering.”
Pubs As Workplaces For Customers
The Cloud is one of the largest wifi providers in the UK and in a recent survey of 2,000 people by The Cloud has found four out of five respondents were logging on in pubs equipped with wifi to stay in touch with work emails. Those using pubs send an average of 25 work emails a week from them. Vince Russell, managing director of The Cloud, said: “We knew wifi was valuable for reliable access to work emails. What we didn’t expect was that Brits do so much of this in pubs. This may reflect how much pubs are changing to become more flexible spaces.”
If you are promoting the use of your function room, or other space, as a meeting room venue for other businesses, you could be missing out on potentially lucrative trade if you aren’t offering wifi in your pub.
Making Singletons Welcome
The social stigma of eating alone is fast becoming a thing of the past, thanks to technology; a survey by O2 has found that consumers are far less anxious about eating out in a restaurant alone if they can check e-mails and connect with friends on Facebook. Whether a pub has wi-fi is now ranked more important than its atmosphere. One in seven consumers now insist that wifi access is ‘crucial’. O2’s Gavin Franks said: “People are much happier to dine alone if they can busy themselves online, whether it’s checking their e-mails or gaming.”
No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
For those of you considering installing a free wifi service for your customers and those that already have, it’s important to ask the question: “But what’s in it for my pub business?” For many of you the answer may well be nothing, other than a slower connection for your own usage and increased internet security risks. For the large “free” providers the benefit they reap is vast amounts of “big data” relating to users of their networks, which the likes of Cloud then sell on to third parties, the hosting venue, of course, gets no access to user data.
Investing in a wifi service requires the same return on investment of any other you make in your pub. You need to know that, apart from the intangible benefits of just having it installed and keeping your customers happy, there is a measurable return. One way of achieving this is to make the act of logging on to your wifi network a transaction with your customers.
How To Run A Pub recommends Purple WiFi, a service that allows you to connect with your logged-on customer, increase your social media footprint and enhance your marketing campaigns.
How It Works
Purple WiFi is a “plug and play” router (yes, it really is as easy as that), which, sits on top of your existing internet connection (or a new one, which we can help you arrange), and allows your customers to connect to your free wifi. The clever bit is the customer can only connect after they have given you an initial Facebook ‘like’ or a ‘follow’ you on Twitter or LinkedIn, I like to call this the “log-on transaction”. The customer gets the free wifi they expect in your pub and in return you get a marketing opportunity and as grandma was wont to say “fair exchange is no robbery”.
What does this mean for your pub? It means your pub is getting constant promotional access to all their friends, followers and social circles. Social media exposure in its own right is worth its weight in gold as the people using your pub are likely to be in the same social circles as other prospective customers. On subsequent visits to your pub, Purple WiFi posts a message of your choice (should you decide to do so), including links and promotions, for instance a ‘what’s on’ message or a food / drink promotion voucher. The wifi user, on subsequent visits, is invited to post on social media but can continue to use your wifi even if they choose not to post.
The Benefits Of The Log-On Transaction
By actively engaging with your wifi using customers you can build your footfall and increase your pub’s revenue. Many pubs struggle to get new customers in our fiercely competitive marketplace and many pubs find it difficult to reward existing customers, let alone target specific customer segments.
Using a transactional log-on one you can access demographic data from all your wi-fi users, which can then be utilised to your pub’s advantage:
Having access to user-demographics data, including the email address of your wifi users, enables you to directly target and send information to female customers, male customers, beer lovers, food lovers, younger or older … the list is endless. For small businesses such as pubs being able to target specific types of online customers is the ‘holy grail’ of marketing.
Making Your Wi-Fi Connection Secure
Internet security is of great importance to wifi users and wifi hosts alike and providing a secure connection is vital. Purple WiFi offers a manageable security solution and ensures only appropriate content is accessed and will block dangerous and inappropriate ports. Most importantly Purple WiFi security will protect you from any incoming or outgoing data transactions that may damage and corrupt your systems and protect you legally as a result of insecure network access. This article in the Daily Telegraph explains the dangers and Purple WiFi explain how their system helps make pub wifi more secure.
Easy Set Up
If, like me, you’re not an IT expert the prospect of setting up a wifi system for your pub might be a daunting prospect, Purple WiFi make it very simple with our “hotspot in a box” all for a one off set-up fee and a small monthly cost*. It comes delivered to you with your first set of marketing messages built in and any vouchers you wish to offer, so directly the system goes live you start marketing to the customer segment(s) you want.
What you get with a Purple WiFi package:
- Branded splash page for all devices – with your logo
- Adverts on your customer log on page
- 2 additional personal WiFi channels
- Bandwidth limiting per user
- Family friendly URL blocking
- Data holding in compliance with legal requirements
- Your outlet listed as a WiFi hotspot
- Voucher based log in
- Customer log in via 3 social media channels
- Easy to use customer log in
- Likes & Follows through registration process
- Management of your social media messages
- Facebook inbox management
- Email marketing tool
- Management & reporting for multiple sites
- Promotional voucher creation
- Initial marketing messages and vouchers pre-loaded by us so your system is ready to go!
To get more information or sign up for your Purple WiFi click here (please include a telephone number in your message) and we’ll contact you directly.