Captive Portal: the Tool for Smarter WiFi Now and Later

Guest WiFi started as a trendy new amenity and is now practically a staple of doing business. It’s the first thing folks check for when stepping into a hotel, and it can make or break the decision on where to eat dinner that night. Multiple studies have confirmed it: people prefer to eat, shop, play and stay at businesses that offer free WiFi.

Basic guest WiFi has one drawback, though. You either have to protect it with a password that then has to be shared with guests, or you have to leave your network unsecured. That’s an impossible choice for business owners. The solution came with the introduction of captive portal technology. A captive portal creates a connection experience that benefits both the customer and the business.

The Benefits of Offering Guest WiFi

Captive Portal 101

A captive portal is a branded web page that shows WiFi guests whose WiFi they’re trying to access and guides them through the connection process. With a captive portal, WiFi guests are prompted to authenticate through either social information, verification process, or payment (if venue charges for WiFi). These three avenues of authentication usually includes:

  • Email
  • Social Media Account
  • Credit/Debit Card Payment
  • Access Code (Voucher, Member I.D., Loyalty Program, Etc.)

Captive portals ask WiFi users to provide some type of asset in order to use a company’s WiFi. But that’s only the beginning. A captive portal system does more for the venue and the user than simply ask for social information.

Safety and Security

Captive portals provide an extra layer of security for venues that want to keep their network safe from unwanted devices. With the boom in smart devices, businesses that are located next to residential areas are in danger of having their bandwidth slowed to a crawl by multiple devices connecting to the free WiFi. Since TVs, fridges, and other smart appliances don’t have the ability to authenticate through a captive portal system, venue owners know the only devices using the WiFi are the ones they want (phones, tablets, and laptops).

Why You Should Never Give Your WiFi Password to Guests

Social Sharing and Engagement

Venues that offer WiFi with a captive portal create a new marketing opportunity for themselves. Innovative captive portal platforms provide the ability to encourage guests to like and follow a brand’s social media accounts. Social media can help grow a business of any size, so venues that utilize a captive portal would benefit from offering some type of social sign-in for their guests.

Download the Turn Up Revenue & Engagement with Guest WiFi ebook

As the user, liking and following your favorite venues through their WiFi is a great way to see their future posts on your timelines. Many brick-and-mortar venues utilize a Facebook page to share important information such as new products or services, hours of operations, events, and more. If a customer were to authenticate on a company’s guest WiFi through Facebook, they could be redirected to that venue’s Facebook page and get better acquainted with the business and brand.

Marketing and Increased Sales

Venues that use a captive portal system have a tremendous opportunity to market back to those who visit the store’s location. Gathering emails from the authentication process allows businesses to step up their email marketing game and reach out to people that a venue knows is interested in the company because they used the WiFi.

Marketing to WiFi users is especially important if they are first-time guests. On average, returning customers spend 67% more on purchases compared to first-time customers, so venues will send deals and promotions to first-time guests and encourage them to become a repeat customer.

As the WiFi user, a captive portal works in their favor by receiving the deals and promotions from the venue. It’s not a secret that every business you purchase from wants your repeat business. By providing businesses a simple social asset such as an email, you should expect any smart business to send you marketing content such as coupons, BOGO deals and other promotions that help you save money the next time you visit.

Making the Switch

Do you offer free WiFi? Ready for a smarter WiFi experience for you and your guests? Increase engagement and offer a branded WiFi authentication process with GoZone’s Marketing4WiFi platform. Marketing4WiFi comes with captive portal feature that will turn your basic WiFi into smart WiFi. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo with us to our captive portal system and Smart WiFi in action.

Schedule a DemoContact Us Today

Recent Posts

Talk to an Expert


You should receive a text shortly with a link to view a sample Guest Flow.

Take a look at the sample we just sent you, and feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more.

Custom Splash Page Builder

A custom splash page helps give a captive portal the branded look it needs to stand out from the crowd and give guests the peace of mind they’re accessing the network associated with the venue they’re visiting.

WiFi Payments and Vouchers

Offer premium guest WiFi access and promote WiFi upgrades with comprehensive payment and voucher modules. Payments can be used to offer guests varying speeds of WiFi access, while vouchers are great for venues that want to utilize a captive portal that also requires a voucher code for WiFi access.
WiFi payments and vouchers

Guest Plans

Venues can now offer multiple levels of guest WiFi access with our Guest Plan feature. Guest Plans are defined by specific upload and download speeds and session time limits. Brick-and-mortar businesses can offer guest WiFi access and promote WiFi upgrades with our new payment and voucher modules.

Versatile Form Builder

Create and display custom guest surveys on any splash page of your guest flow. Collect feedback and gather additional data points to create smarter marketing.

Enhanced Guest Flow

Guest flow gives venues complete control over the guest WiFi experience. Guest flows help keep a visually pleasing captive portal experience by preventing clutter of multiple marketing assets. Keep it simple, or turn your WiFi into a digital billboard.
WiFi splash page with survey social login

Integrated Ad Spaces

Ad Space Integrations is a powerful feature for venues who want to promote products, deals and specials, online shopping, loyalty programs and other signups, or third-party advertisers all on a pre-authenticated Splash Page.

Increase impressions and clicks for advertising opportunities by showcasing AdSpaces before requiring a guest to connect to WiFi.

Have an app that needs more downloads? The URL redirect function will navigate guests to the app store specific to their device as soon as they click on the advertisement/call-to-action button.

No more will guests have to wait to connect to WiFi to reach interactive ads. Ad Space Integrations takes Ads4WiFi smart advertising tools and places it our smart marketing environment powered by Marketing4WiFi.

Hotspot Scheduler

Determine the specific days and times that WiFi is available to guests. Hotspot Scheduler offers smarter WiFi control by allowing venues to run their guest WiFi during business hours.