Have you heard of the new website that publicly shames your disappointing WiFi access? A new service called Hotel WiFi Test (http://www.hotelwifitest.com/) lets your guests test the bandwidth speed at your hotel and then post the result directly to Twitter or Foursquare, showing the exact location of your hotel as well as the broadband speed. But can that really influence your business in any real way? The answer is definitely yes. According to the iPass Mobile Workforce Report released for Q3 of 2013, people who work remotely ranked the importance of high-speed, reliable and affordable hotel WiFi second only to a comfortable bed. Free WiFi boosts customer loyalty

Not convinced yet? Well keep this in mind: 81 percent of mobile workers have had an unsatisfactory experience with hotel WiFi in the past year. Out of those who had a poor experience, a startling 74 percent say that a bad WiFi experience in a hotel would prevent a return visit. These numbers are not only applicable to business travel; people who stay at your hotel for pleasure are also impacted by the quality and price of your WiFi. Thirty-seven percent of workers on vacation report connecting two to five times a day, up from 29 percent last year. The number of users who log in five or more times a day grew from six percent a year ago to 13 percent this year. It is clear that the importance of WiFi is only going to rise in the coming years – so what can you do?

 1.    Pinpoint the issue.

Do your guests complain about the connectivity in your establishment? If so, what bothers them the most – the price, the speed, or that in a certain room you have to stand on one leg while teetering near the window in order to Google directions to that local attraction they wanted to visit? Whatever their qualm is, it’s almost certain that they’re talking about it online. So use your social monitoring tool to find out exactly what guests complain about. If you still don’t have enough data try this: if you see that a guest logged into WiFi during their stay send them a personalized email asking for feedback about the WiFi access. Not only will the direct engagement likely get a response, but they will also appreciate that you cared enough to ask.

 2.    Make a plan of action

Now that you know what guests complain about when it comes to WiFi, it’s time to act. Depending on what people say, you can figure out how to reduce the issue, for instance if a person is traveling on business you can offer them a reduced WiFi rate. If the guest complaining about the cost of the Internet is on vacation, you can get creative with the solution. For example, offer free WiFi, but only in the bar or restaurant area. That way, while guests access free WiFi, you will surely boost your bar sales.

If the issue is the availability or reliability of your connection, you may want to consider upgrading your Internet provider or purchasing a WiFi booster. This is a technology decision that can be made easier with customer experience data, which is exactly what you’ll find through social media intelligence. For example, on December 2nd, a customer told the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara via Expedia “Room size was good, but WiFi signal was not as strong as I expected on 7th floor, it kept dropping the signal making it impossible to work.” Since the property was listening online, they were able to contact the guest to make amends.

3.    Evaluate the results

After you implement changes to your WiFi, it’s important to see how the updates impact customer retention rates, as well as the influx of new guests. Make sure to monitor your online reputation to see if your adjustments have had a desirable affect on your clientele. The great thing about near real-time monitoring is that if you find out your guests are abusing your solutions (for instance, someone pretending to be on a business trip to score free Internet) you can nip the issues in the bud before they can damage your business.

Interested in how much your customer loyalty scores will shoot up because of reliable WiFi availability, check out this post that features two real business examples.