While our general focus in hospitality is making sure that everyone has an interesting, comfortable and enjoyable event, all too often we don’t give enough attention to a factor that has become a major component of everyone’s life – internet access.
Today, most planners are incorporating social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) into their events. Not only has it has become one of the most powerful marketing and promotional tools available, it can create a lot of active participation and provide event details at your fingertips. This is all great as long as everyone can get access. But you can’t rely on attendees using their cell phones as their source for connection. Not only are data plans needed, but in crowded spaces performance often drops off.
Hotels and meeting venues are trying to keep pace with the constant changes, yet offerings seem to range from basic to more complex with higher bandwidth solutions. In guestrooms, most are going with two tier offerings – a free version and one with higher bandwidth. However more and more properties are beginning to offer group packages that include premium Internet in the event group rate. Some are even extending the access from the rooms to the property meeting space.
For event space, things are also changing with enhanced wireless coverage and capacity as well as tools to schedule access and issue codes that do not require technical intervention. This means that AV and IT staff will soon only be needed for complicated setups when it comes to Internet access.
Until these offerings become more standard, here are things that you and your clients need to consider to help ensure connectivity is dependable:
- How many attendees will need access?
- Does the event encourage social media during the event? Is there an event app?
- Are presenters, trainers, or other leaders planning to access “cloud” or external systems as part of their presentation? If so, make sure they provide their bandwidth and any security requirements necessary so you can pass them on to property IT or AV personnel.
- Will exhibitors be allowed Internet access? If so, make sure you have a smooth process for them to order it.
- On the show floor, will attendees have free Wi-Fi access?
- For really connected events, ensure that all off-site venues have access. You can even arrange buses that have internet..! Now that’s connected!
It’s all in the planning! Make sure you consider Internet requirements and ensure all are in place to help deliver an enjoyable event experience. Don’t forget the data – and stay connected!