Forget the phone -- when on the road, it's all about Facebook

If you need any more reasons to make sure you're providing adequate bandwidth for your attendees, here they come. According to a study conducted by StudyLogic for Sheraton, a full 60 percent of the 4,204 people surveyed in the U.S., U.K., and China use social media, not the phone or e-mail, to keep in touch with loved ones while on the road. About 80 percent access social media sites throughout the day (about a fifth log in to an SM site multiple times each hour when traveling), and 39% said they “could not live without” social media sites (hmm, and about half said they used SM to arrange a tryst while on the road, which seems awfully indiscreet, among other things).

More than half also do a quick check of a new contact's SM profile before a meeting, and 56 percent also said it was important to do business with people active in social media; 55 percent use online social networking to meet new business contacts and maintain current ones. But take what you learn with a grain of salt, since almost 70 percent also said they were less than honest on social networking sites, and 20 percent said they flat-out lie.

Sheraton wanted to gauge SM to ensure its new [email protected] service -- which I haven't seen yet but, according to a press release, sounds like a pretty nice version of a cyber cafe with free wi-fi and Internet-enabled computer stations -- was in line with what people want. I like the idea, of course, but also want wi-fi in the meeting spaces and guest rooms as well. As Hoyt Harper, SVP and Global Brand Leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, says in the release, it's no longer a luxury; it's a necessity.

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