Q

Web address filtering

My company owns and operates a number of hotels in southern Florida. Recently, we have set up Linksys Wi-Fi at each property but have run into a small problem with customizing. Basically, we want to make our floridatravelnet.com site the homepage whenever anyone logs on through our Wi-Fi system. How would we go about doing this?
Oh sure, its all about you, isn't it? Seriously, this is a relatively simple, yet important task since Wi-Fi access is rapidly becoming an expected offering at most hotels and is an excellent way to promote awareness for the hotel among your temporary and frequent guests. You did not mention what type of Linksys wireless routers you are using to wireless-enable each of your properties. However, many of the company's products sport a feature called 'Web address filtering', which basically lets you assign specific Web sites that can either initially or exclusively be access by people who tap into your system. You can set these Web addresses by accessing the router's configuration system at setup, or by directly linking to the device by typing in its IP address, which permits access to an internal control and management program. Most of the wireless systems we have played around with have such a capability. Once the specific Web sites have been inserted, you can position your Web page as the opening site, and even limit access to a handful of Web sites.

Another way to do this is to simply go to the Internet Options section of your Web browser software (at least in Microsoft's Internet Explorer) and then specify your Web site as the home page (the default is usually the MSN Web site in IE). One suggestion though: Instead of simply having wireless guests channel through your Web site, direct them to a page that asks for simple registration info. -- you know, name, address, etc. That...

way, you collect data for your mailing list, and can also survey these guests to find out what other services they may be interested in receiving at your hotels. You might even offer them the opportunity to print something out through your business center, provided you have a printer linked to your wireless system (another relatively easy task!). Again, the effort should be to utilize technology to build community and increase awareness for the services provide at your hotels.

This was first published in October 2003

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