Facilities rentals that want IT changes

Hello everyone, I’ve been lurking for a while but have decided to make this post to see how other churches IT handle requests coming from external facilities rentals.

External event rentals have steadily been wanting more customization in regards to Wi-Fi and networking at our facilities. Some just want to have the captive portal turned off on the guest Wi-Fi. Others want a custom guest network SSID, plus multiple password protected event staff networks, each segregated and with different dedicated bandwidth allotments. This can lead up to hours of work both creating and resetting these changes.

I was thinking of creating a ‘menu’ of sorts that has a price for common network requests, and then be able to use the revenue from that to re-invest into our network equipment.

How do you all handle these types of requests at your church? Does anyone know how event venues, like conference centers, price these kinds of requests?

1 Like

This is pretty common in the hotel event space, and if you’re getting these sorts of inquiries that suggests to me you’re picking up some pretty high end events so first off congrats :slight_smile:.

I’m not sure what sort of wifi solution you have in place, but many do have orchestration tools that help make these changes pretty routine. I personally would carve out the various VLANs for what you get requested for so you aren’t updating switch configurations all the time and the rest should just be a few clicks in your wireless controller and maybe some firewall policies.

I’d likely try and keep my wifi options and pricing relatively simple so to avoid frustrating the folks who are trying to bring these events in and do maybe “Nothing (use existing church guest SSID)”, “Custom (Up to 4 segmented SSIDs with basic bandwidth limits)” and “Advanced (anything else)” and earmark that revenue (plus likely some from the rest of the event rental fund) to upgrade any of your tooling that isn’t quite meeting the moment right now.

We went sort of the other way. We’ve hosted a lot of concerts, funerals, etc. that want their own Wi-Fi and various parameters. The vast majority of the time, it’s all unnecessary, and our guest Wi-Fi would have worked just fine if they’d tried it.

Our “fix” was to look over incoming riders, if they have anything about Wi-Fi or networking, to tell them what we have and that’s what they get. 99% of the time they’re fine with that, they just want to make sure they have network access and aren’t slowed down by others.
The other 1%, we have a conversation about what they’re trying to accomplish, and go from there.

1 Like

Thank you for your reply, Alex. We’ve been a venue of choice in our community for many years, and have hosted high school and university graduations, as well as events for local companies. The past few years we’ve started to get more secular conferences and larger corporate events, and with them especially have been the networking requests.

On the technical side, I’ve been thinking along similar lines. We use Unifi for our wireless, and for the most part it works great. I was thinking of having a few VLAN’s premade and ready to go, then I just need to modify and assign the SSID’s to AP’s. I’m also planning on adding a dozen or so AP’s than we currently have, so that we have some AP’s for our staff and internal devices only, and reserve the beefy AP’s for guest and event networks.

I guess my question was more on the business side. Is charging for these kinds of configurations standard practice, and what sort of pricing range should we look at?