Yesterday (8 August), the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) marked the one-year anniversary of its Conference Cloud Campaign by signing up the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham to the scheme.
One year ago ABPCO launched the campaign, aimed at encouraging conference venues across the UK to provide Wi-Fi free of charge to conference delegates. Within 24 hours, the Twickenham Experience became the first to sign and since then some 190 venue sites across the UK have pledged their support.
ICC Birmingham is the latest venue and second convention centre to support the campaign, following Brighton Centre earlier this year. “We have provided free delegate Wi-Fi for over a year now as we recognised early on it is a service venues within our industry should be offering as a matter of course,” said MD of the ICC Birmingham Nick Waight. “We are pleased to support ABPCO in its efforts to highlight the importance of delivering value to your end customer and responding to the changing needs of the market.”
ABPCO Chair Michael Foreman said: “The last year has been a real success for the Conference Cloud campaign. In terms of the future, the campaign will continue to focus on meetings and conference venues aiming to secure the support of more large conference centres such as the ICC in Birmingham.
“We will be looking to extend the remit of the campaign over the next six to 12 months, including working on assisting larger venues with creative modeling to enable them to offer free delegate Wi-Fi.”
He added: “In addition we will be further developing the Conference Cloud website to become a reference tool for conference organisers to check where free Wi-Fi is available across the UK, constantly focusing as we do on the top priorities of buyers and PCOs.”
The development of Conference Cloud followed an open forum debate at the Summer Summit in Belfast last year, where PCO members raised concerns over the negative impact of high cost Wi-Fi access for delegates.
In a round table discussion attended by PCOs, venues and suppliers held at Twickenham Experience in December last year it was agreed that there is a need for ‘free Wi-Fi for delegates at a basic level’ and that venues need to define what ‘basic’ means for them. A list of key delegate requirements for Wi-Fi access was drawn up during the discussion and a final list of key qualifying questions that need to be answered by clients, PCOs and venues regarding their specific Wi-Fi requirements for an event was created and circulated.
Conference Cloud venue sign ups, August 2011 – August 2012
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