The modern world cannot survive without Wi-Fi, and that is certainly the case for a majority of meetings, events and conferences. Not only does a strong wireless internet connection help you and your staff do your jobs better, but hundreds or even thousands of frustrated attendees with Wi-Fi trouble might just be an event planner’s worst nightmare.
Events vary by number of attendees, venue size and configuration, and technology needs, but without the support of basic things like Wi-Fi, your event will struggle from the start. From the right setup to displaying accurate Wi-Fi access information, your staff and attendees will be much happier if you make your Wi-Fi connection a priority.
Easily the number one question asked at every conference I’ve ever worked at (both in person and on social media) was “what’s your Wi-Fi password?” Help yourself and your attendees by putting your Wi-Fi network name(s) and password(s) on, well, everything: physical and digital signage, programs, presentation slides, as well as your mobile app, event website and social media accounts just to name a few. Your Wi-Fi information doesn’t have to be in large font or the main focus, just a little note in the corner will do.
Don’t rely on your venue
Events come in every shape and size, as does the venues that host them. If it’s a smaller meeting, your hotel’s Wi-Fi may be able to handle the load, but more often than not, providing your own Wi-Fi network is to be an expected and is often substantial cost when hosting hundreds or thousands of attendees. Not only is it good to evaluate both your internet and budget needs prior to your event, but make sure to work with your venue and third-party services on when and where you’ll need the extra infrastructure.
Overestimate, over prepare
It’s not shocking to hear that people own more than one device requiring Wi-Fi. In fact it’s estimated that digital consumers own 3.64 connected devices and that planners should estimate that attendees at least will bring 2-3 devices to an event. Now imagine all of those devices being used at once by every attendee and/or staff member at your event. With that being said, when it comes to estimating how much bandwidth or access points you will need, prepare for the worst or absolute highest peaks of usage.
Think about times during your event like once a speaking session block time is complete, for example. You can bet most attendees will want to immediately check their email or event mobile app to see what’s next on their agendas. Those are the times your attendees need to access information online the most and you need to be prepared.
Utilize surveys and feedback
If you want a greater sense of your attendees’ or sponsors’ Wi-Fi needs, then just ask! Perhaps you ask attendees how many devices they plan on bringing to your event when they register. Or you can use forms to keep track of what wireless equipment sponsors will need at their booth or what speakers need during their presentations. This should help you have a more specific, accurate idea of the level of performance your Wi-Fi network will need to have throughout your event.
And of course, don’t forget to ask about the Wi-Fi experience in post-event surveys as well. If one of your event-related goals is to improve the Wi-Fi experience, dig deep and ask specific questions about connectivity, speed and accessibility.
Overall, Wi-Fi is not something to skimp on or put on the back burner when planning your events. With a service that provides so many functions for both your attendees and staff, it’s best to be over prepare and over deliver on the glue that holds your technology presence together.
Written by: Lauren Williams