Wifi at conferences is becoming a huge issue: attendees can’t do without it but event organizers struggle to find budget to pay the exorbitant fees venues charge for it. What’s an organization to do to prevent lack of free wifi from becoming a deal breaker for attendees? Could it be possible that Facebook could be the solution to this problem in the near future?
I blog all the time about my love/hate relationship with Facebook, and had sworn I’d never check in on Facebook. But everyone has their breaking point, and apparently free wifi is mine, because when I read about Facebook’s new wifi program that would allow businesses (like meeting venues) to offer guests free wifi after checking in on Facebook, I loved the idea. As both a frequent conference attendee/hotel guest and an association staffer who knows what a source of complaints lack of wifi is among event attendees, it is evident that at some point something in the equation will have to change. Venues get away with charging a fortune and conference planners are left grappling with finding sponsors to support what their own budgets can’t or dealing with attendees voicing their disapproval about the lack of wifi onsite, via the conference’s social media channels and in their post-event survey comments. If Facebook can jump in and provide a way around the whole mess, I personally could see sacrificing a bit of my privacy to the big data gods to solve the problem of no wifi.
Granted, not all attendees would feel the same way….but free wifi? People already offer up their email addresses and other personal information for free wifi in other public places; would a Facebook check-in be that different?
It remains to be seen if venues start using Facebook wifi and whether conference participants see it as a good thing or a privacy issue….but hopefully it’s at least it’s a step in the direction of the extinction of crazy fees for conference wifi.