The typical communications scenario between hotel and guest at any hotel goes something like this. When you enter the hotel, there are a few simple signs telling you what events are going on that day, a shelf full of trifold brochures for places and things located nearby, and the front desk. When you need any real information, you call or go to the front desk. One of the first things most people ask the folks at the front desk is, “how do I get on the Wi-Fi?”
The front desk is the most trusted and effective communications (and sales!) tool at every hotel, and yet almost every hotel continues to try to make use of table tents, e-billboards, standing posters, interactive billboards, and printing & distributing fliers in the rooms as the rooms turn over. The only one of these static marketing objects that gets any attention is the one that says “how to get on the Wi-Fi.”
For everything else, we go to or call the front desk. Why do we do that? Because, for the most part, customer service personnel at the front desk of a hotel are trusted, personal, and we’re face to face with them. They work there, so we assume they know what they’re talking about. The fact that we are eye-to-eye means that every piece of communication will be personal, and relevant to the question we’re asking. When we walk up to the front desk, we have a captive audience, and the answers to our question(s) will be relevant to what we’ve asked.
But that means that, in order to get answers, we have to pick up the telephone in our room or walk to the front desk in order to get answers to our questions, even though we are literally connected to the hotel almost all the time via Wi-Fi. What if we could combine the knowledge and contextual relevance of the front desk with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi?
We can! Using proximity marketing via Wi-Fi, now even the largest hotel can provide contextually relevant information to anyone connected to their Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi systems operate similarly to cellular networks in that they can triangulate and determine the location of any device on the network – in this case, you and your iPhone – and deliver a proximity marketing message to any user based on where that user is physically located on the hotel campus.
With proximity marketing over Wi-Fi, we can combine the contextual relevance and knowledge of the front desk with the everywhere capability of the Wi-Fi network. Now the hotel front desk, the most powerful sales tool at the hotel, is on every smartphone that enters the hotel doors.