Two thirds (69%) of UK companies see in-venue wi-fi as essential to the growth of their business according to research from BT Wi-fi to mark the 18th anniversary of wi-fi (June 1997).
More than a quarter (27%) of companies surveyed say the availability of wi-fi has or would increase customer visits.
Chris Hewertson, Chief Technology Officer at glh Hotels noted the role of wi-fi in driving innovation for his organisation: “For the hotel sector the availability of free in-venue wi-fi is essential, with many customers now rating it their number one consideration when choosing accommodation. Wi-fi enables businesses like ours to offer a more streamlined customer service. Faster free wi-fi gives us a clear product advantage over other hotels, which is key in a sector as competitive as ours.”
A quarter of businesses (25%) highlighted in-venue wi-fi as driving new ways of doing business that are shaped around new customer purchase behaviours, with nearly half (47%) acknowledging it has helped develop better, more streamlined payment solutions.
Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays suggested wi-fi plays a critical role in creating a richer customer experience: “Whether it’s being able to open a bank account in 3 minutes on one of the 10,000 in-store iPads, or automating everyday transactions, in-branch wi-fi has brought us closer to our customers.”
Commenting on the findings, Erik Raphael, Director BT Wi-fi & Devices said: “Wi-fi has become the backbone for many British businesses since its inception nearly two decades ago. In-venue wi-fi is not only seen as essential by customers, but also by companies who also view it as central to the way they do business and how they interact with their customers.”
“Innovations in wi-fi connectivity mean customers have even faster access to the internet, allowing them to interact with services and make purchases in new ways.”
Despite the business benefits of wi-fi being widely recognised, surprisingly the research found that over half of UK businesses had still not adopted in-venue access.