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What To Do When Your Event Internet Goes Down On-site

In today’s digital age, the internet is integral to events. Whether hosting an in-person or hybrid event, it is woven into every aspect and is a crucial factor in the overall success of on-site events. This can be difficult, however, as any disruption or internet outage on-site can be frustrating for attendees and event organizers alike. Situations like this may feel stressful, but as an event professional, there are a few things you can do to prepare and keep a cool head in case the worst happens. 

Pre-Event Prep

In the heat of the moment, it’s important to define what steps you need to take to deal with an internet outage, but it’s more essential to first have a solid plan in place to mitigate such an issue. Prior to going on-site for the event, you should discuss.

  1. Which of your event technologies are fully dependent on an internet connection? Is there a way to migrate to tech that does not require internet connection in case the connection goes down?
  2. The current state of the venue’s internet infrastructure
  3. Availability of secondary suppliers
  4. Detailed contact info of the venue’s internet team
  5. The current state of the venue’s internet infrastructure
  6. A staff plan to report and work through internet issues 
  7. How data may be affected in the absence of internet

Ensuring that all areas of the event have a coverage contingency plan for off-line management will be essential to keeping you on track during the event. Even with all of the preparation, an internet outage can occur anytime or anywhere and affects registration, keynote presentations, live streams, breakout session scanning, lead retrieval and more. 

On-site Response

If your internet does go down during your event, a swift and effective response is crucial. 

Step 1 – Diagnose the extent of the issue.

Which critical systems are impacted? Understanding the severity of an internet outage will allow you to manage concerns and ensure a smooth transition through the solutioning process. 

Step 2 – Enact contingency plans.

Turn back to the contingency plans you set up prior to the event. Communication is key here as you reach out to the points of contact that can assist in resolving the issue or assist in finding alternative solutions. Alert the stakeholders as soon as possible and communicate the impact.

Step 3 – Internal POC

Who is taking the lead? A main point of contact should have been appointed in advance who can make critical decisions and coordinate efforts during the outage. This person should have a clear understanding of the event’s goals and the resources at their disposal. They will ensure key stakeholders are informed about the issue, its cause, and plans to address it as well as plans to adjust session schedules, etc.  

Step 4 – Communicating with Attendees

Plan a way to communicate with your attendees to provide support to answer questions, provide updates and keep the overall environment calm and collected for the attendees. 

Don’t dwell on the past, but learn from it.

  • Following the event, document the cause, solutions, impact and outcomes of the outage to learn and adjust preparations for the next year accordingly. 
  • Do not limit your data by only collecting feedback from the event team. Attendees will have valuable insight about how the event was managed during the outage and it may not be as bad as you think. Their experience is instrumental in defining the overall success of the event. 
  • Based on the lessons learned, refine your contingency plans for your next event. Managing event disruptions is challenging, but with a proactive approach and comprehensive planning, it’s possible to minimize the negative impact or avoid it completely next time.

Key Takeaways

  • Be prepared, stay communicative and cool as a cucumber, and continuously learn and adapt to improve future events. 
  • Internet outages may sometimes be inevitable and completely outside your control, but their impact can be significantly reduced with the right strategy in place.

Looking for help with your on-site tech or preparedness? The BW Events Tech team can help! Contact us here or send us an email at [email protected]