Event Planners Ask: “Do I Have To Use In-House AV?”
When you’re in event planning mode, sometimes you come across a piece of your event plan so succinct that it doesn’t make sense to do anything besides stamp it with an “Approved” or “Yes!” But is that the best thing to do when you’re setting up AV services for your event?
As you can probably guess, most event planners choose their venue before they choose their AV company. It’s all about location, right? Well, not exactly. Your attendees want to see and hear everything that is going on at your event. This expectation needs to be met with high quality audio equipment and video or projection display. Most event venues will provide AV equipment as part of the contract, but may charge extra for a member of their technical staff to operate it. Many times venue managers do not offer the idea of bringing in a third party AV company as they want to keep things simple in-house for the client, and there are some venues that even charge to bring in outside vendors. We can definitely respect that, but we also want you to consider all of your options when planning your next event. Here are a few things to remember:
1. You always have a choice! You can typically negotiate your venue contract, including the AV production. You do not have to settle with what you are offered. If you have an AV company that you have worked with in the past and you enjoy working with them, contact them first. You can be more prepared to negotiate your production options with your venue at your first meeting, if you have a professional to back you and your event plans up. If you do not have a preferred AV company, it can’t hurt to ask around. Ask the venue for a quote as well as other providers to see if the AV options that you were interested in will fit for your venue and your budget.
2. Cheapest is not always the best. You may not think that audio or visual stage design components are important for your event so you don’t need a separate budget for it, but it isn’t too wise to think this way. What is your event flow? Is it going to work to use the same equipment in different rooms and just move things around to save money? What is the objective of your event, and how are your attendees going to get the most of it? They will need to see and hear what is going on, of course! We highly recommend that you make sure that the AV equipment you are using is high quality and is appropriate for your event before you sign the contract. It’s common for AV companies to keep up with the new technology and the best AV equipment. It’s much less common for venues to update their equipment regularly to stay up-to-date. Don’t sell your event short.
3. Never assume. While in-house AV services may be great for a simple projector or microphone you may need for your corporate conference or public event, it may also be troublesome. This could be especially troublesome if you plan to break out into multiple rooms, change the layout between sessions, or have multiple pieces of visual information to present to your attendees. Unfortunately, many venues do not account for the more detailed logistics, like lapel microphones on all seven presenters or multiple laptops to run multiple projectors during the presentation. It would be the absolute worst to have your presenters show up to the event and be completely unprepared for the presentation because of your AV planning mistakes. Always ask all the questions you can to get the most information from your presenters to your AV production staff ahead of time, in-house or otherwise, and connect with your AV company on the details to plan accordingly beforehand.
This is a topic that we could discuss in our blog for paragraphs upon paragraphs! But we won’t bore you. You can read more about your event venue AV options from MeetingTomorrow.com here.