By Paul Leybourne, Vodat International
The hospitality sector will be cheering on the Home Nations as they run onto the pitch this September, for their Rugby World Cup fixtures in Japan.
That’s because a good tournament will help raise Brexit-weary spirits, while also giving a wide range of hospitality firms a significant sales boost across the UK. Dare we say it: if England, Wales or Scotland win the competition, like England did in 2003, that sales boost could be worth billions. Add in an Indian summer and hospitality firms that have made the right preparations could be laughing all the way to the bank.
Pubs, bars and hotels stand to benefit the most from increased custom, and greater dwell times, but other hospitality venues can also get in on the action — as long as they ensure their premises are world cup ready now.
Glitch-free big-screen viewing
It’s a no-brainer that pubs, bars and hotels should consider televising games. Luckily all the fixtures have been planned with a European audience in mind, starting early in the morning so that they can be televised during UK primetime. Connectivity will be key if venues are to guarantee glitch-free viewing on big screens.
Great Wi-Fi will also be instrumental if hospitality venues want to lure customers away from their sofas during the tournament. Restaurants, for example potentially face a dip in footfall during big sporting tournaments, however rugby fan customers can still be tempted to dine if high-quality customer Wi-Fi is available, allowing them to follow every kick of the ball on their smartphones. This is also the case for pubs, bars and hotels that don’t necessarily think it’s appropriate to televise games on a big screen.
So, what should hospitality firms look out for when ensuring their Wi-Fi is world cup ready?
There are some incredibly complex on-premises Wi-Fi solutions now available. Cloud-based networking technology, however, can offer easier deployment options and increased capability.
Cloud Wi-Fi offers rich features along with added scalability, all simply delivered through a single cloud-based management console with a user-friendly interface. With this, businesses are also able to enhance their Wi-Fi analytics, marketing, and sales capabilities.
On-premises Wi-Fi has traditionally been hard work to set up and complicated to manage but market-leading cloud Wi-Fi solutions now easily bridge the gap between traditional networking and software-defined networking, without having to reinvent a company’s entire IT infrastructure.
Businesses looking for flexible, scalable, and easy-to-manage solutions that can easily be integrated across their estate, should therefore seriously consider cloud-based technology.
Cloud also enables businesses to manage all of their infrastructure from a single interface, reducing the need for any on-premise maintenance, and allowing them to manage their physical devices anywhere.
The world cup can be used as an incentivisation tool to open up a whole world of personalisation opportunities, once strong, secure and scalable Wi-Fi is in place. Promoting on-premises Wi-Fi during the tournament will ensure greater Wi-Fi sign-up, the opportunity to gather Wi-Fi customer metrics and to use personal data the rest of the year to offer personalised customer experiences such as promotions and offers.
Personalised customer experiences
Social Wi-Fi, where customers log in using their social media profiles, gives business unparalleled access to a whole range of customer data including their social media ‘likes’, demographic data and contact information.
Add to this an opportunity to drive sign-up to customer loyalty apps, and it is relatively easy to start sending push notifications and SMS messages to customers smartphones while they’re on premises or passing close by. Using beacon technology, for instance, a business could message customers, while on premises or passing close by, with a discount voucher, for example, that can be redeemed during a rugby game.
If all this seems like a great deal of investment to capitalise on one tournament, keep in mind that the sporting calendar regularly features events with mass appeal. As well as annual sporting set pieces such as the FA Cup, Wimbledon and the Grand National to name but a few, there are two global sporting opportunities on the horizon;; the Olympics next year and the FIFA World Cup in 2022, so any investment in on-premise connectivity is likely to soon pay for itself.