Planning An Event? Don’t Forget To Budget For Internet And Wi-Fi!

There are a lot of factors to consider when planning an event, and they all start with one thing: the budget. Venue selection, booking entertainment and staff, A/V and lighting, vendors and ticketing, marketing, security, catering, travel and lodging, and logistics are the standard line items that are always included in event budgets.

Notice anything that’s missing?  You guessed it. CONNECTIVITY.

Internet and Wi-Fi are often overlooked when it comes to event planning because they are available pretty much anywhere these days, but most networks are not built for events.  Many venue networks can only support day-to-day operations, and there are actually some venues that have zero connectivity.  When a full production staff, media, and vendors all arrive onsite and start connecting to a network that isn’t designed to handle that much traffic, the internet can become almost unusable and you end up with a lot of unhappy people that are losing time, productivity, and money.

The good news is that venue networks can be extended to support any number of users, and it is possible to get connectivity into a venue that has no infrastructure, however, both require a lot of behind the scenes work and planning, and it can be expensive.

Timing is also something to consider, as most ISP’s require a minimum of 2-4 weeks lead time for an increase in bandwidth or temporary installation.  That alone could cost anywhere from $150 to upwards of $10,000 (depending on the location and how much is needed), and it does not include the design and deployment of the network.

If “Internet and Wi-Fi” is not a line item on your budget when you start planning an event, talk with everyone involved, and ask these 6 questions to get the conversation started:

  1. Does the venue have an existing network we can use?
  2. What specific areas of our event need connectivity?
  3. How many people in each of those areas will need internet and Wi-Fi access?
  4. What happens if we do not have internet and Wi-Fi?
  5. If the venue has an existing network, will it support our needs?
  6. If the venue does not have a network, what are our options?

Event Internet and Wi-Fi used to be something that was nice to have, but now it’s a necessity. When you stop and think about it, the amount of people in the event industry that depend on connectivity to get their job done is overwhelming, and if the network they are using at a venue is subpar, productivity and profitability can both come to a standstill.

You may end up deciding that you don’t need to spend money on connectivity, but at least it was discussed. If you do need it, there is time to adjust and add a new “Internet and Wi-Fi” line item on the budget. More times than not, it’s an afterthought, and that can unfortunately end up causing major unexpected problems.

Photo: TOURtech Staff