How to Choose the Right AV Provider as a Meeting Planner
Many elements—from messaging to staging to design and more—go into a successful event, aspects which must be fused together seamlessly to ensure a flawless execution. This level of planning can be challenging; thus, partnering with the right AV provider is crucial. If you choose the wrong AV company, you could end up paying too much and receiving too little. Selecting the right AV partner is a process, so it’s essential to set up the parameters that ensure you choose the partner that will best meet your event objectives.
See Which AV Providers are Out There
Event coordinators at venues tend to push their in-house AV services, often offering a discount as an incentive, with and some sites even stipulating that you use their preferred provider in their contracts. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice for your situation, and if it’s a contract requirement, this point can typically be negotiated as the venue is unlikely to risk losing your business because you want to bring in your own AV company. So, before you sign any agreements, be sure to check out a few independent AV companies and see what they have to offer by comparison
Partnering with an independent company gives you an advocate who has your best interests at heart. And because these outside parties aren’t burdened with splitting fees with the hotel, they have greater flexibility in delivering more impact and better value for your AV investment, ensuring that every penny spent goes straight into the successful execution of your event. Further, if you haven’t selected a venue yet, a qualified AV company will have established connections within the industry, familiar with the stakeholders and limitations of local venues, as well as the expertise to advise on venue selection in other cities, states and countries. An AV partner can even help negotiate better venue fees. But remember, when assessing AV providers, it’s essential to ensure they’re a good fit with your company’s culture as well as your event vision, and have expertise with events similar to yours and references to back up that experience.
Determine Your Needs vs. Wants
Before meeting with prospective partners, determine how many people are expected and the attendee demographics. Finalize your guest speakers and their needs, the overall tone and themes that will be covered, and your desired outcomes. While trending technology (i.e., VR and AR elements) may seem the hip thing to ensure engagement at your event, the investment may be more well-spent on aspects that align more closely to your messaging goals, like video backdrop content that highlights your speakers’ presentations or kiosks that provide product information, event agendas and wayfinding. Categorizing your actual needs versus your wants is the best way to ensure your AV partner understands what elements are necessary and what should be considered only when budgets allow for more, helping to create an event that mirrors your vision while avoiding wasting resources on technology or equipment that you don’t require.
Work with the AV Company on Your Budget
Everyone has an event budget, and it only makes sense to present your AV provider candidates with this figure as well. Providing a budget upfront enables AV vendors to discern whether your intended vision can be accomplished with the allotted dollars and determine the level of equipment and technology that can be incorporated. This saves both you and your AV provider’s time—they won’t be needlessly spinning their wheels integrating unnecessary bells and whistles, and you won’t be faced with the headache of dealing with overpriced quotes or regenerating the quote process again from the start.
Ensure that you supply vendors with as much detail on the venue as possible, including which ballrooms, breakout rooms, etc., you’re planning to use and how each space will be utilized. To avoid playing the middle-man, supply the AV company with the venue point of contact information so they can ask specific technical questions, allowing you to focus on more pressing priorities than room dimensions and electrical capabilities. You should also let your AV partner know whether your guest speakers or performers will have any specific requirements, the type of content you will be sharing with attendees (i.e., live-streaming or other video content), and a detailed schedule of everything that will be happening at your event (session and presentation timing, the number of presenters who will be on the stage at any one time, and an anticipated attendee count). Further, be very clear about set up and breakdown times as these can affect labor costs. The more information you can provide prospective AV companies, the more accurate the quotes you’ll receive.
Ask for Transparency in Pricing
When you receive your quotes, be sure to ask the AV Company to do a quote walk-through with you. They should be able to explain what each line item is and how it contributes to the success of your event, providing you with a clear understanding of exactly what you’re paying for. And, if something doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification. Also, request that a CAD design accompany your quote—a 3D rendering will help you visualize the stage, the lighting, and how all of the elements will coalesce to create your vision, helping to compare apples to apples when looking at multiple quotes. Finally, to ensure there are no billing surprises post-event, make sure your quote is final before signing on the dotted line.
Elite Multimedia is Your One-Stop Shop for All Things Entertainment
Event production is challenging. However, figuring out the little details upfront and screening multiple suppliers to wheedle out not only the right AV provider—but a partner you can trust—can streamline planning, up the impact ante and achieve smooth execution of an event that meets both your vision and messaging goals.
Elite Multimedia wants to be that trusted partner. We provide the highest quality equipment and most comprehensive audio-visual production support and services to clients across the world. No matter the size of your event, our passion for creating unforgettable experiences is what sets us apart. With a combined 85 years of industry expertise, our team of dedicated professionals knows how to pair the right technology with your vision. For more information on how Elite Multimedia Productions is the right partner for you, visit https://elitemultimedia.com/about/.
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