February 4, 2017

Between steep venue charges and insatiable user demand, event Wi-Fi costs can skyrocket. Thankfully there are creative options the well-informed event manager can leverage to help cover these costs.

We’ve compiled five of Team Shiloh’s favorite tactics for delivering superior event Wi-Fi at a fraction of the list price.

Planner and a cup of coffee - plan Wi-Fi early
man laying out a plan to get through a maze

1. Establish Your Event Wi-Fi Plan Early

Detailed knowledge of an event’s Wi-Fi needs puts you in the best position to evaluate and negotiate venue services at a fair price. Don’t accept a venue’s standard “Wi-Fi included” package before estimating your event’s actual needs. Deferring the details of Wi-Fi planning inevitably leads to changes, additions, and higher prices later on.

Learn how to estimate your event’s Wi-Fi requirements in our blog post here.

Pencil and notebook with a list of Wi-Fi planning questions to ask venue
Four professionals discussing documents in a negotiation

2. Negotiate The Wi-Fi You Need From the Start

Most venues run their network connectivity as a profit center. “Wi-Fi included” means different things from one to the next, but overall expect to see venue WI-Fi plans structured to sell services beyond what’s included in the basic plan.

A venue’s baseline event Wi-Fi costs may include bandwidth only, a limited number of access points, a specific number of connections, or minimum coverage areas. Whatever the plan may be, you’re likely to need additional services to complete your solution, and you will pay less for them if you negotiate for them upfront.

Ask the right questions to get everything you need bundled in at the start. Then negotiate one price for all. If you need to use an outside supplier to supplement your venue’s services, discuss this in your negotiations as well.

Ask your venue questions such as:

  • How old is your internet infrastructure?
  • How many access points are included, and how many connections does each support?
  • Will bandwidth be dedicated to your event or shared with other parties?
  • Are all key areas covered including main areas and breakout rooms?
  • What other event Wi-Fi costs may exist to deliver a full connectivity solution?
  • What support staff will be available and when? On-site?
Laptop showing sponsor logo at Wi-Fi network login
Laptop on users lap showing splash page with sponsor logo

3. Sell Wi-Fi Sponsorship

Offering a Wi-Fi sponsorship package enables you to turn some of your event WI-Fi costs into an additional revenue stream. Wi-Fi networks present several branding opportunities that get a sponsor’s name in front of a highly targeted audience. Network names – or SSID’s – can feature a company name, while sponsor logos and messaging can appear on login and landing pages.

 For examples of some well-executed Wi-Fi sponsorships, see our friends at CIES or Connect.

Wi Fi network connectivity
hands holding a mobile phone showing video advertisement

4. Build Additional Ad Revenue on Captive Portal

Another option for turning event Wi-Fi costs into incremental revenue is selling WI-Fi ad inserts. One service offered by a captive portal enables audio-video ads to be inserted into the event Wi-Fi access process. Ads can be targeted by location, date, time, and more. These high-exposure impressions let advertisers reach key audiences at your event while offsetting some of the Wi-Fi cost.

1 user with fast Wi-Fi and two more with slower Wi-Fi
professional man running with a laptop using multiple network applications

5. Sell Premium Event Wi-Fi to Attendees

While your event’s peak use times may max out available Wi-Fi, there are also many off-peak hours. Selling unused bandwidth during non-peak event hours converts this idle resource into incremental revenue. Sell excess high-speed bandwidth direct to bandwidth-hungry attendees or to sponsors who may in turn give it away as a premium promotion to VIP customers.

What’s your favorite trick for saving on event Wi-Fi costs?

 Leave a comment to share your ideas with our community.

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