It used to be that the hallmark of a horrible meeting—at least the one comment sure to surface on post-event surveys—was terrible food. While undercooked chicken and limp broccoli remains at the top of the list of likely complaints (when it’s true), vying for the top position these days is poor WiFi. Fortunately, there is something meeting planners can do to mitigate the risk of being called out on connectivity.
While it would be weird, frankly, to set attendee expectations around the food being served at a conference (for example, a warning that the food might not be available in all areas), it’s a great idea to inform visitors ahead of time about what levels of WiFi connectivity to expect and where. In fact, some type of [attendee] connectivity compendium could score planners some major points.
Why it’s a good idea
Besides getting out in front of a potential problem (uninformed, unhappy customers) and providing attendees with valuable information, there are other reasons why planners would want to highlight the connectivity available to conference-goers: It’s an opportunity to set expectations, control the demand for WiFi, and provide one more place to put a sponsor’s logo and website URL.
What to include in the plan
There’s a lot of information planners can put into a connectivity compendium:
- WiFi availability in the official hotels (guest rooms, meeting rooms, public spaces) and the cost (if not included in the room rate)
- Map of the convention center and where WiFi is available. TIP: plot where attendees can charge their devices to make some real friends.
- Pricing matrix for obtaining additional bandwidth (if available) in the convention center
- Chart of connection speeds available throughout the convention center
- Device dos and don’ts for attendees (example: Do download the official conference guide mobile app BEFORE you arrive to the convention center, don’t bring more than two mobile devices with you to the conference)
- Advice on where, when, and why to swap mobile connectivity for WiFi
- Contact information for technical support on site. TIP: Providing visitors with someone to talk, text or tweet if they have trouble connecting will reduce their frustration levels and boost satisfaction scores.
How to deliver the news
No one wants to go to the expense of creating one more piece of content that nobody reads. So, planners can take some creative liberties with a connectivity compendium. Rather than throwing up a blog post, think about an infographic or a series of short videos before the event and an FAQ on the event mobile app for use during the conference.
Move over surf and turf
After spending so much time and energy on negotiating the most WiFi for the best price, why not toot your horn a little? The delivery of inexpensive or free wireless connectivity at meetings is like providing air—pretty soon participants won’t be able to survive without it and wouldn’t think twice about avoiding an event where it wasn’t plentiful and easy to access. If the current data on mobile device addiction can be believed, poor WiFi will replace a lackluster menu sooner rather than later in the dissatisfaction derby.
This post was written exclusively for Ungerboeck by Michelle Bruno, MPC, Bruno Group Signature Events.