Maximizing Your AV Budget
Since everyone, including meeting planners, is facing trying economic times, Image Audiovisuals has compiled some tips to help you maximize your meeting dollars, but still produce effective and dynamic meetings.
After spending a great deal of time planning and executing a meeting, the importance of having meeting technologies perform to your expectations does not change in a down economy. With some homework and careful consideration, you can save some money, and still have a very successful event!
The following tips can help you maximize your meeting dollars:
Some hotels are now, in effect, “forcing” groups to use their in-house AV supplier. This is simply because hotels receive a percentage of the AV revenues that their in-house supplier generates, so they want to maximize their revenues for every group. This can be an expensive pill to swallow, as in-house AV suppliers can be substantially more expensive than an outside supplier, and offer far less service and expertise. On the other hand, in-house AV suppliers can offer many benefits over an outside company, so it’s not always clear as to what’s the best way to go. Your best option is to keep your options open. Before you sign a contract with a hotel, negotiate your right to use the AV supplier of your choice. Most hotels, faced with the option of you looking somewhere else to hold your meeting, will delete the AV “exclusivity” clause from your contract. You are now free to use a supplier, who knows your standards and requirements, or you might elect to utilize the hotel’s supplier, but now that choice is yours, and not someone else’s!
Audio is an area where you could potentially save some money, but you’ll need to do some homework to avoid a meeting meltdown! Most hotels have built-in sound systems in their larger rooms that are substantially less expensive to use, compared to bringing in an external sound system. A major caveat here is that many of these built-in sound systems are not robust, or reliable enough for you to count on for your very important meeting. Ask to hear the sound system in action before you make your decision. It’s still often the best choice to have a separate sound system brought in if you’re not sure. Wired microphones are much cheaper to rent than wireless microphones, and often have better performance characteristics, so you could definitely save some money here if your presenters don’t need to roam while they speak.
Many meeting planners keep their AV budget close to the vest when soliciting quotes, afraid of being overcharged by suppliers, but in today’s economic reality this is much less likely to happen. If your suppliers know what they have to work with from the beginning, they can focus their energies on engineering their proposal to precisely fit your equipment and financial goals, often with important value-added services included
If you use a company to produce multi-media content for a meeting or event and a AV rental company to provide the equipment for the event, look into finding a diversified company that does both. You’ll save money and have a single point of contact for your technical and content needs! Stream away! You can save major money by limiting the audience you bring on-site for your meeting and simultaneously streaming the meeting live to the internet. You reduce the cost of the meeting space you need as well as saving money on food, transportation and sleeping rooms. The remote audience sees and hears the presentations, complete with video and PowerPoint® slides. It’s a very “green” way to save!
Many groups bring some, or all of the equipment needed for their meeting or event. This can save you serious money or cause serious headaches. If your technical needs are complex or you have multiple presenters, you will need a dedicated person handling the set-up, rehearsal, operation and strike of your equipment. If you don’t have such a person then you are much better off renting the equipment and technical expertise you need to make your event a success. Hotels can charge you a hefty service fee to set-up your equipment for you, and if your equipment malfunctions, and you don’t have a back-up you will wind up in a major pickle! Transportation, shipping and excess baggage costs, additional time spent setting-up, operating and striking equipment, equipment damage caused by improper maintenance or transportation and lack of operational knowledge are all potential issues to be aware of.