FREE WiFi for everyone a lesson to be learnt by Hotels Worldwide | New York, United States | More and more hotels across the world are becoming more savvy and proficient in the use of Social Media and Social Applications. The big question that always raises to this still brand new technology, which many pretend to master, but only a few truly understand, is how to measure the ROI – return on investment. As I travel the world, staying at all types of hotels, I have had multiple experiences with the internet service, which most of the time can be very annoying, where hotels yet don’t understand that internet is one of the top features guests will take into consideration, at the moment of booking their stay. The worst examples during last year travels, were hotels in London, UK and Jaipur, India, where I was shocked with my bill upon check out with charges over USD 40 x day for a lousy crappy connection that would take me over 10 minutes to upload a single photo. On top of that, most hotels do not offer the Multi Device Connection platforms, and travelers like me, we need to at least to connect three devices, such as Laptop, iPhone and iPad, meaning three times the charges. The recently open cutting edge and modern Yotel in New York City, has grasped this concept and finally proved that what I have been telling hotels for the last two years, was indeed a great idea, first and for most to please customers, and second, to self promote their properties and services making use of the different techniques on online advertising and viral effects.
There are several examples around the world, some like the case of my recent stay at avant-garde Yotel, offering guests FREE WiFi connection during your stay, if they would provide them with their email address, regardless whether they decided to sing up for their monthly newsletter or not. (TIP: create a secondary mail account for all this purposes and take advantage of these benefits). Other examples, which to me make much more sense and better viral exposure for the properties, are those that would give you FREE WiFi access during your stay, if everyday at the moment of renewing your connection agreement you would Check IN at any of the Social Networks available such as Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus or LIKE their Facebook page. The connection is automated generating a post, that would read “…. Carlos Melia has Checked IN at the xxx Hotel in New York City – visit our website at www.xxx.com …” to be seen, commented and checked by most of your friends and followers. But the smart points of this option, are (1). Hotels will be reaching out to all your followers and friends, turning you at that exact moment as referential and experiential sales agent and promoter of the hotel. (2). Most of this Social Networks are linked by default to an Email address, therefore they not only get that, but also a full profile on who you are, what you like, allowing them to provide you with a much better experience during your stay with them, based on your own social networks. I am still waiting for someone to prove me wrong on this idea which I have been preaching for the last two years. Internet should be FREE and global, and hotels are not an exception of that. WiFi is an amenity that most of us consider indispensable and will shift our decision at the moment of booking our hotel. Hotels must embrace Social Media in a more serious way, this is not like tweeting or posting facebook updates for your self, this is a global powerful experiential marketing tool, that trust me would cash into their annual budgets more money than the daily cost of charging for the service while annoying customers with this nonsense. For those hotels that already DO offer FREE WiFi to their guest, congratulation, but maybe you should consider getting a return on this amenity and make it worth the value it signifies to your guests. But what do I know, I just spend 80% of my year living in hotels, right ? CM