Here's an interesting guest post by Doug Archibald, vice president, sales and service at Ungerboeck Software International- a worldwide provider of mobile event management software for conferences and venues. He's talking more to the venue side than the meeting planning side, which is a different perspective than you'd usually see here. I hope you enjoy it.
As smartphones, iPads, and tablets take over the market share of wireless Internet devices, accessing the Internet at a conference or large-scale event is not only necessary, but expected by attendees. This expectation can be an opportunity for large venues to gain a competitive edge, and generate additional revenue through providing the wireless access while generating additional revenue. There are many options when it comes paying for wireless, and generating a revenue stream in the process is the norm for most venues.
The simplest and most popular way to generate revenue is to charge for the wireless itself or charge for additional services. A venue can ask the user (attendee) to pay to access the service itself, or charge a fee to access the service at a higher download speed. Another option is to charge the organization hosting the event, and they can pass the fee onto their attendees as they wish. Various options such as network speed, restricted site access, and data usage can be priced differently to increase revenue.
Some venue owners do not want to manage wireless access, and a popular solution to this issue is to allow commercial wireless carriers (such as AT&T or Sprint) to install access points for their services. Carriers pay rent for the access points, which provides revenue to your organization while servicing your attendees. Carriers install their own equipment and are responsible for maintenance and technical support. Many convention and conference centers are made of concrete and steel, and receiving a signal or maintaining one can be frustrating for the venue owner and attendees. With this option, managing wireless access problems is passed onto the carrier. The carrier can also sell directly to event organizers, eliminating the hassles of selling wireless service as well.
Even if the market demands a venue offer free service, then generating revenue through advertisers on the network is common and often the most profitable. Branded portals are available, and your venue can sell sponsored ads within this custom app. Branded portals can also be linked to social media sites, giving your venue even more exposure to potential clients and organizations.
Venue owners can easily profit from the new age of wireless by researching the options available, knowing their competitor’s wireless service options, and selecting the right combination of products and services. Conference or event attendees expect to have access to the Internet, and venue owners can easily turn this into a revenue stream with the right knowledge and some creativity.