Free Wi-Fi a decisive factor in restaurant or shop choice for consumers

Offering free Wi-Fi on premises might be a fantastic business move.

Choosing between a restaurant offering free Wi-Fi, and one that doesn't, two thirds (66 per cent) of consumers will go with the one that allows free connectivity, according to new research. Hughes Europe's new report says access to free Wi-Fi has become a 'major factor' when consumers are faced with eating and drinking choices.  

Almost half (46 per cent) also said this affects their choice of shops. “Our survey explores how consumers increasingly expect access to Wi-Fi when they shop, enter a restaurant or look for somewhere to stay,” says Chris O’Dell, Vice President of sales and marketing, Hughes Europe. 

“The results show how Wi-Fi must now be a key consideration for any business in retail or hospitality that wants to meet customer expectations and boost footfall.” More than half (53 per cent) believe free Wi-Fi should be more widely available in shops, while 47 per cent said it should be easier to use. O'Dell said retailers and hospitality operators have a great opportunity in free Wi-Fi, but stressed how important it is to get it right. 

“Optimising Wi-Fi in a store, coffee shop or restaurant should be addressed with the attention it requires – highlighted by the survey findings which show the growing consumer expectations from their Wi-Fi experience”.  

Besides the obvious benefit of attracting more guests and keeping them on the premises for longer, free Wi-Fi also has hidden benefits, the report says. For example, if a business requires customers to log in via Facebook or a similar social media platform, they can gain access to valuable customer data, including age, gender and interests.