Etherlive partners with HBAA
- Category: Agency & Association
- Created on Monday, 16 April 2012 09:55
Etherlive partners with HBAAEtherlive surveyed over 100 members of The HBAA to understand confidence and attitudes towards the progressive use of IT in conferences and events.
The results highlight the trenchant use of IT by corporate organisers and delegates at meetings, conferences and events. However, their desire for Wi-Fi and a more complex IT infrastructure is proving challenging for agents, hotels and venues to keep ‘tech-knowlogy’ up to date with the developments in this area.
The survey highlighted that 46% of hotels and venues were confident with the changing technology landscape compared with 27% of agents who felt confident that they were abreast of Wi-Fi and streaming media demands.
Both agents and venues agreed that Wi-Fi was a key consideration for meetings under 50 delegates:
•55% of agents cited that Wi-Fi was a prerequisite for smaller groups; 35% of venues stated it was a key consideration.
•For events of 51 and upwards, agent demand remained static at 55% for Wi-Fi, while hotels and venues noted an increase in demand to 39%.
80% of the agents and venues concurred that they were fully briefed on Wi-Fi requirements by their clients; however:
• Just 11% of agents and 12% of hotels and venues felt completely comfortable with the terminology used.
When asked if IT specifications were of equal importance to AV (sound, light and staging) requirements, a notable 72% of agency respondents stated IT was less important.
Once onsite agents highlighted that 75% of the pre-ordered IT infrastructure was as requested, whereas 81% of hotels and venues said that it was as the client requested. Agents noted that a quick fix and more powerful infrastructure was regularly required to bolster what should have been in place from the outset, and that IT spends were often over budget on production of the final bill.
The disparity between IT requirements and the actualities at the event has a proven effect on repeat business at the given venues, with 59% of venues stating that issues with IT had led to business not returning. Research with the agents shows that issues with infrastructure led to 81% of the clients questioning using the same venue again.
Despite the corporates desire for IT, it was still not deemed sufficiently important to be part of the tender process for a strategic meetings management programme:
• 65% of agents stating that it had never featured despite the corporates’ need to measure and consolidate total costs for their meetings and events.
Tom McInerney, director of Etherlive, said: “The use of IT in events is far reaching and little understood. To say you offer free Wi-Fi simply isn’t enough. From the most basic perspective, delegates are reliant on their PDAs: presentations often use the web and content is frequently streamed across the globe; all of this requires a robust infrastructure. Corporates expect off-site solutions to be as adaptable and flexible as the ones they have in their offices. This is all too often not the case, and agents and hotels need to grasp and understand what is required. IT terminology should trip off the tongue and become part of the professional organiser’s terminology like back projection, DDR and RFP have become!”
Peter Ducker, executive director of The HBAA, said, “One of the Association’s objectives is to drive professionalism, and we see the whole IT subject as an area that we can help agents and venues alike improve upon. The advent of hybrid events and delegates’ reliance on the internet is bringing the digital revolution to the fore for agents and hoteliers alike, and we are actively looking to make sure the Association keeps pace with it.”
Etherlive is one of Europe’s leading IT companies, specialising in the events sector. From corporate events and festivals to large scale exhibitions, the company has been appointed by the Greater London Authority to provide a ground-breaking communications solution at the London Media Centre during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) was formed in 1997 and now has 86 agents and 209 venue members, with an agent membership annual buying power in excess of £2.3bn.