The Conference Cloud campaign was launched in August 2011 and has since seen almost 200 conference venues commit to offering free Wi-Fi to conference delegates, including two of the UK’s major convention centres, the ICC Birmingham and Brighton Centre.
The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) announced that its Conference Cloud campaign, which aims to encourage conference venues across the UK to provide Wi-Fi free of charge to conference delegates, will be extended to include hotel accommodation. The intention is to broaden free Wi-Fi access for delegates to include their accommodation, allowing work and networking to continue outside of conference hours.
This development comes to light as ABPCO Vice-Chair Jennifer Jenkins presents at the 2012 Annual Forum of the Hotel Booking Agents’ Association (HBAA). The event is described as ‘must attend’ for anyone who is from, or does business with, hotel booking agencies and represents another example of ABPCO’s expansion of the Conference Cloud in to the hotel market.
While a number of hotels have already signed up to the campaign in a conference venue capacity, this is the first time that the initiative has been pushed to include delegate accommodation. Hotels that accommodate delegates without providing conference facilities are now eligible to join the campaign.
ABPCO Chair Michael Foreman commented: “We have seen considerable growth and a real shift in priorities in the first year of the Conference Cloud Campaign. While we are delighted with this success, we naturally aim to continue this growth and to expand the campaign. By encouraging hotels to join the campaign, whether they offer conferencing facilities or just accommodate delegates, we are filling a hole in the conference experience for delegates allowing access to free Wi-Fi throughout their time away from their home or business.
“Many hotels are already differentiating their offers with this service and we encourage those to sign up to the campaign. We understand that long term contracts often exist with Wi-Fi providers but in these cases we believe that Wi-Fi costs should be included in room rates. Ultimately, our aim is to help our PCO members deliver more engaging conferences deemed to offer real value to their clients; free Wi-Fi throughout the experience is crucial to fulfilling that aim.”