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8 Tips for Conference & Meeting Success

Mar 20, 2014 11:51:49 PM

Meetings and tradeshows are requiring greater technology integration, especially with increased demand for high performance Wi-Fi. Consider that the average business traveler carries 2.7 devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops - that’s a lot of data and bandwidth. Travelers are checking email, updating social media, and even uploading photos and streaming video.

Meeting planners are asking for more advanced audio-visual technology and increased wireless Internet access for guests. Providing Wi-Fi for conference attendees has become “the quickest developing need in the industry,” said Brad Weaber, executive vice president of event services at Smith Bucklin management company. Infrastructure “has unfortunately not adapted as quickly as the attendee demands and expectations,” explained Weaber.

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi has become an expectation of meeting planners and is increasingly problematic for those whose budgets have not adjusted.

Here are some tips for how to set up your conference or meeting for success:

  1. Define your needs - What level of Wi-Fi do you require for your event? Disuss and define those needs with the hotel/venue; make sure you sign a contract outlining the details.

  2. Balance your books - Determine how you will pay for Internet – subsidize via conference fees, find a Wi-Fi sponsor, or negotiate the budget with the hosting association.

  3. Count heads - When organizing the details of the event, assure that you will have enough bandwidth for the amount of attendees (and their multiple devices).

  4. Design a “tech haven” - Select and negotiate dedicated Wi-Fi areas throughout the venue or save costs by creating specific hotspots in the lobby and casual meeting areas.

  5. Plan ahead – Create exhibitor fees for extra Internet services so they get the dedicated connections and bandwidth they need for product and service demonstrations.

  6. Get sponsored - Sell sponsorship and advertisement space in info packets and at the show to help offset Internet costs.

  7. Find a great fit - It’s best to seek out a venue with a good reputation and work with them to suit your budget rather than rely solely on your time-costly research.

  8. Charge fairly - Studies show that many business travelers would pay for a faster Wi-Fi connection, so why not offer tiered bandwidth and in-session upgrades to recoup costs and more fairly distribute bandwidth?

Adapted from Conference Internet Access without Breaking the Bank.

Be sure to stay tuned next week for the last part of our Better Wi-Fi series, Preparing Your Hotel for Passpoint.

How do you cope with technology costs?