ABPCO today announced the launch of a new campaign – The Conference Cloud – which aims to put an end to Wi-Fi fees for conference delegates by encouraging venues across the UK to offer free Wi-Fi access. The campaign follows feedback from PCO members regarding the negative impact of high Wi-Fi access prices for delegates and calls from buyers for venues to review their pricing strategies when it comes to separate charging for Wi-Fi. An open forum debate on the topic at the recent Summer Summit in Belfast further reinforced the need for a campaign to address this issue for PCOs.
Newly appointed ABPCO Chair Michael Foreman commented: “Online access is a fundamental part of everyday working life and we know that delegates attending our members’ events need to stay connected while on the move. Even with the proliferation of mobile broadband coverage, quality Wi-Fi is still the preferred online access route, especially for overseas delegates keen to avoid excessive data roaming charges.
“We know that free Wi-Fi is already being set up by certain cities across the globe. Our aim is to work with venues to develop revenue models that work for them as well as our clients. ABPCO wants the UK to be leading the way when it comes to listening to what buyers need to support their events and free Wi-Fi is top of their list.”
Feedback from ABPCO members indicates that most conferences are now using Wi-Fi enabled tools, allowing delegates to access information during the event, encouraging interaction such as social media comments and networking within conference venues. ABPCO believes that venues that are committed to enhancing the delegate experience should work with event organisers to make these tools as accessible as possible through provision of good quality Wi-Fi.
ABPCO has already lined up a number of initiatives to give the campaign momentum. The Association aims to host a round table discussion with conference venues in the autumn to provide a starting point for developing an agreed model for offering free Wi-Fi to delegates. Venues that sign up to support The Conference Cloud will be listed on the website and given The Conference Cloud logo to use in marketing materials, including a window sticker for the venue.
Meetings and events professionals are also encouraged to support The Conference Cloud through its online petition available via the website at www.theconferencecloud.co.uk , or join the debate on social media via ABPCO’s Linked In Group, Facebook or Twitter using #confcloud.