Installing Internet Kiosks: Free to Use or Pay to Browse?

If you’re thinking about installing internet kiosks, one of the most fundamental decisions you’ll need to make is whether to offer web access for free or request payment.

Each option comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, but the right decision will depend on your own unique situation.

Here are three questions you should ask yourself before installing internet kiosks:

Is internet access valuable?

Before you begin to assess the benefits and drawbacks of offering free internet, consider whether internet access actually has any value for the people using your kiosk.

A stable connection will always be useful, but your kiosk may be surrounded by other businesses, such as coffee shops, that offer free wi-fi. In this case visitors will be unlikely to spend money connecting through your kiosk.

On the other hand, your kiosk may be in the centre of a busy traffic hub or tourist area, where people will be eager to connect to the internet to look up travel times and find their way to certain locations.

In the former scenario, it makes little sense to install a pay-to-browse kiosk since the value of an internet connection is low. In the second scenario, people will probably be willing to pay to use your kiosk.

Your own situation will probably differ from the two listed above, so ask yourself how necessary it would be for visitors to access the internet and whether they can do so for free within close proximity of your kiosk.

What benefits can you gain?

Even if people are willing to pay for an internet connection through your kiosk, you can sometimes draw greater benefit by providing free access.

Here are a few ways you can benefit from offering free internet to visitors:

Drive additional sales: if you’re in a retail environment, customers can use internet kiosks to compare products and look for deals.

Contact information/social shares: instead of a monetary payment, you can ask customers to provide an email address or follow your business on social media.

Customer retention: customers are more likely to return if they know your business offers certain services for free.

If these benefits are more compelling than the additional revenue, focus on them instead of asking for payment.

Are you able to monitor usage?

Finally, ask yourself how well you’re able to monitor internet usage. One of the central problems that comes with offering an internet connection without requesting payment is having people abuse the system.

Unscrupulous users may have the opportunity to visit unsavoury websites. Aside from offending other visitors, these sites may infect your system with malicious programs.

To avoid issues like this, it’s best to have the kiosk located somewhere it can be easily monitored by a member of staff. You should also install security software and have technical support in place to mitigate any problems that do occur.

Installing internet kiosks: a summary

If you’re installing internet kiosks, we hope these three questions help you decide whether they should be free or not.

Weigh up the potential value to users with the benefits you could gain to make the best decision.