Nov 10, 2009 at 02:51 PM
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Sponsored Wi-Fi Is Corporate Gift of Choice

Seems like sponsored Wi-Fi is the corporate gift of choice this holiday season. In recent weeks, Google has partnered with Virgin America, Lexus has teamed with American Airlines and Ebay has offered free Wi-Fi for Thanksgiving on 250 Delta flights. Today, Google announced it will also take the tab on free Wi-Fi for 47 airports nationwide through the end of the year.

"This is one of our holiday gifts to our users, and when you connect, we also hope you'll take the opportunity to try some of the latest Google products," said Google in a statement.

Boingo, which operates more than 130,000 hotspots nationwide, will assist Google with the campaign this holiday season. Recent campaigns have generated up to 35% increases in revenue at select airports, while delivering click-through rates of up to 39% for sponsors, according to the company.

“Sponsored access works on many levels by providing a great amenity for passengers at no cost to them, and delivering a short-term boost to an airport’s paid Wi-Fi concession through incremental sponsorship dollars,” said Jim Janowiak, vice president of business development for airports at Boingo Wireless. “Because of the high value, the associated fees are significantly higher than traditional online advertising buys, which is what helps preserve overall revenues for the airport in light of cannibalization of core offerings during sampling campaigns.”

Sponsored Wi-Fi campaigns typically come with a consumer hook such as agreeing to watch a 30-second video ad. Other opportunities to engage consumers include lead generation, product and service trials, distribtution of social media applications, location-based searches for retail, customer surveys and branded content.

“Because the user interacts directly with the sponsoring brand in order to redeem the complimentary session, the value to the sponsor is very high,” said David Staas, senior vice president, marketing at JiWire, Boingo’s advertising sales partner. “For brand marketers it offers a unique way to reach a desirable and sometimes elusive prospect – business travelers.”

You can find more information about Google's holiday promotion, including a full list of participating airports, at

Related: Will Marketers Finally Free Wi-Fi?