I am shamelessly stealing this post from one of the smartest women in the events & meetings business Midori Connolly. Midori has been a contributor to MeetingsPodcast from the beginning and she has said she would like to do more shows with us. She is an innovator with Green Audio Visual with her company Pulse Staging and events
I seem to have this conversation all the time with clients about using in-house AV on events. When my team is already bringing in the general session Audio Visual, the breakouts fall to the in-house A/V. I wouldn’t say always but these breakouts usually have issues and our hands are tied. As we get to know our clients better and better we can anticipate issues much earlier and make the sessions about your content not about any technical issues. (like you trust us with the general sessions) Recently I spoke at a conference and walked into the venue with my laptop and was told they did not have a projector? I asked the -in house A/V if they had one for me to use and he said he would have to call the office across town? I looked at the meeting planner and she said she thought they would have one for her? Strange situation for me to be put in. I was there as a speaker but do own a production company. (no I don’t carry A/V equipment with me)
I had to share Midori’s explanation of the many myths is so well written.But soon she will be back on the podcast and maybe some of her smarts will rub off on me.
Unlike most Audiovisual companies, we concluded that a big long list of our equipment is really not practical, useful knowledge for most Event Professionals (although we do have one, it’s quite extensive and available if you’re interested!). Instead, we present five myths demonstrating why you should always consult with an independent AV service provider when planning your event.
1. It will cost more if I don’t use the hotel AV service.
This is perhaps the most costly assumption you can make when choosing your AV provider. We can demonstrate several examples where you could save your client or your company hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of precious dollars. This might be through careful scheduling of labor, adapting schedules or even helping you shop and negotiate power and rigging charges at various venues.
2. My venue will not allow me to use an outside service.
Pulse Staging can help you manage this sales tactic and negotiate with your chosen locale. Frequently the in-house provider will attempt to charge for using an outside company, often referred to as a corkage fee. However, with the careful use of a simple red pen, you should be able to mark through these unfair, bullying practices that can be up to 40% of a final billing!
3. An outside AV company won’t be able to accommodate last minute changes.
Don’t let this deceptive statement fool you! Much of a hotel’s equipment, especially any specialty gear, is actually shipped from other sources. No matter the destination, the extensive network of Pulse Staging has always supplied the desired changes to the event, no matter how large or small.
4. The in-house AV company will know the venue better than anyone else.
This is where a fresh perspective becomes your advantage. Imagine designing the same set-up for the same room for the same audience day after day. Understandingly enough, the design might become slightly predictable. Pulse Staging professionals appreciate that meeting attendees need stimulation to stay focused; and their AV design reflects this.
5. The quality of service I receive will be the same as the hotel’s, and I know I will receive the same service no matter what city or state I am in.
Almost all “in-house” Audio Visual companies are actually independent agencies—not employees—of the hotel. While they might adhere to their own standard of service, there is no guarantee they match that of the hotel. Furthermore, the team of AV specialists you depend on will change with each location. Your dedicated Pulse team travels with you, no matter the distance. This means we will be able to anticipate that your CEO usually wears a silk shirt – and accordingly provide her with her own preferred microphone.
Besides these myths, there is the general concern of whether or not your Project Manager (not a sales representative, but an on-the-ground Project Manager) will be dedicated to your event. Will they be distracted with another, larger show at the same time? Will they be available by phone at 2am when you realize you need to make changes before 6am? And what about after the event? Will they travel to your debriefing to give you performance reports and insightful suggestions on how to improve the next event?
These are all serious and vital aspects of AV that any Meetings Professional must be attuned to. In times of minimal budgets requiring maximum impact, turning to a professional AV consultant could perhaps be the elusive piece to your almost-complete ROI puzzle.