The majority of the time, a suitable WiFi connection at events is a must: it connects your delegates, powers your presentations and is vital for a lot of registration processes. It is understandable, therefore, that event professionals around the world have revealed they want more transparency when it comes to WiFi services at venues. 

HBAA survey

In a survey conducted by the HBAA, 80 per cent of hospitality and event professionals called for clearer standards on venues’ WiFi services and pricing. 90 per cent of participants believed the industry would benefit from standardised pricing for WiFi.

In a recent podcast, HBAA Past Tech Chair, Caleb Parker, discussed the findings with The MICE Blog founder, Irina Graf, and digital hotel management strategist, Valerie Wagner, who hosted the podcast     

Clearing things up

Parker, the cofounder of the brand of meeting rooms and flexible workplaces called Bold, agreed that standardised pricing for venue WiFi may not be universally popular. However, the event planner’s understanding of ‘free WiFi’ is almost impossible to define and so change is needed to improve the sector.

“We all need to speak the same language,” Parker stated, explaining that one person’s definition of ‘free WiFi’ may be different to someone else’s.

Agreeing, Irina stated different events require different bandwidth. Some events often use social media to boost engagement: in situations where event planners ask attendees to check-in, tag or like certain posts, the organiser must provide suitable WiFi.

Placing the blame

It is easy to point the finger at venue bosses, spiking high their WiFi prices and not budging when asked to compromise. However, venues are sometimes as entangled in the webs of unclear WiFi rules as the organisers. “Sometimes, [venues] have to stick to expensive legacy contracts with data providers,” Caleb explained.

Additionally, event planners do not always ask the appropriate questions regarding the WiFi for their event, so do not find out about it until show time.

Education is key

Calling for more education within the industry, Caleb explained it will help buyers know what questions to ask and how event professionals can abide by “good practices”.

“I think that if we can agree on a set of connection definitions at events, then we’ll be better off,” Caleb concluded.

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: