The IT Blog for SMEs

If you run a hotel, bar, restaurant or coffee shop, you probably appreciate just how beneficial it is to get people talking about your venue on Facebook. But how do you persuade your customers to do that?

The answer may be easier than you think...


Facebook as a referral tool

Facebook is very powerful as a marketing tool, especially for the hospitality industry. It's an excellent form of referral marketing: if someone "checks in" or "likes" your Facebook business page, that information is immediately communicated to all of that person's Facebook friends. Given that the average Facebook user has 250 friends, that's a lot of direct referrals!

But how do you persuade your customers to "check in" or "like" your Facebook page?


Facebook + WiFi = Referrals!

Facebook has recently launched an initiative designed to help venue owners improve their popularity on the site. All you have to do is to provide your guests with WiFi in order to allow them access to Facebook while they're on your premises. When your customers connect to your wireless network, they are automatically routed to your Facebook business page and prompted to "Check In" (see main image) in order to continue using your WiFi connection. Your customers benefit by getting access to free WiFi and you benefit from the resulting publicity!

You can get further exposure by asking your customers to "like" your page, which will place any future messages directly onto their Facebook timeline - giving you a repeated, sustainable presence in your customers' minds.


How does it work?

Thankfully, it's very easy for both you and the customer - which is why it works so well. Here's how you take advantage of this:

Step 1: Install a Facebook-enabled wireless network:

Facebook popularity

First of all you need to offer your customers a WiFi connection that supports the Facebook login mechanism. Because this is a fairly new development and is suited primarily to the hospitality market, there aren't many WiFi systems that support it. Thankfully, we've done all the work for you and can supply a choice of solutions to suit your needs and your budget.

Step 2: Link the WiFi system to your Facebook page

If you haven't already got a Facebook business page, now is a good time to create one! It is then a simple task to edit your Facebook settings to link your WiFi system to that page. For customers who purchase their WiFi system from us, rest assured that we will assist in every stage of the setup for you.

Step 3: Promote your free WiFi offering!

Surprisingly, this is the step that many venue owners forget about. How will your customers know about your free WiFi offer if you don't advertise it on your tables, bar, menus, blackboard, etc?


The guest experience

Many venue owners will tell you of their experience with guest WiFi: customers simply don't use it! The reason for that is that traditional guest WiFi systems have a cumbersome or intrusive login process. The customer typically has to "set up an account" (too time-consuming on a night out) or enter their email address (too great a risk of spam emails) - so they are put off by this experience.

With Facebook-enabled WiFi, the process is simplicity itself:

  • the guest connects to your wireless network
  • he/she is then automatically taken to your Facebook business page and prompted to click on a "Check In" button

That's it! The customer is now free to continue browsing your Facebook page, where you are hopefully promoting upcoming events, special offers, etc. Of course, having a quality internet connection means that customers can also check their own Facebook page and upload pictures of themselves having a fun time in your bar, restaurant or hotel - which is all good marketing for you. 


Not just for Facebook users!

Not everyone will have a Facebook account and some customers may not wish to "check in" to your Facebook page. No problem! You can give your customers the option to either login with a code that you will supply, or to bypass the login process altogether. They will still be prompted to "check in" on your Facebook page, but they will have the option to skip the process.

So everyone can enjoy free WiFi - an offering that entices customers to stay longer and purchase more food or drinks. 


The benefits

This is truly a win-win solution for any hospitality-focused venue:

  • the venue gets improved social media exposure and improved Facebook ranking, leading to increased footfall, turnover and therefore profit;
  • the guest gets an enjoyable online experience with a simple login process and without eating into their mobile data allowance.


To learn more about Facebook-enabled WiFi and how it can benefit your hotel, restaurant, bar or coffee shop, contact us today.