Key Takeaways From Cvent CONNECT 2023
Posted By Tallen | September 13, 2023
Every year, the Cvent CONNECT conference brings together engagement experts, experience makers, and production pros to share their knowledge with other event professionals. Tallen exhibited for this year’s conference at Caesar Forum in Las Vegas and had a great time soaking up new ideas and networking. Here’s what we learned from two separate panel discussions on sustainability and Diversity, Equality & Inclusion at Cvent CONNECT 2023.
Bring Your Event to Life With Tallen's Virtual Event Production
Posted By Tallen | August 16, 2023
Virtual events have become an indispensable tool for organizations that want to communicate their message in a convenient and accessible format. While virtual event production checks those boxes, it’s important to have proper planning and skilled personnel. That’s why we’ve built flexible formulas for knocking virtual events out of the park. Here are a few key ways we amplify their value.
5 Reasons Hybrid Corporate Events Are Here to Stay
Posted By Tallen | June 07, 2023
Ever wonder if the popularity of hybrid corporate events will wane? That’s unlikely; almost every live event we’ve worked on post-pandemic has a hybrid element because of its ability to fuse the energy of live events with the convenience of virtual experiences. Let’s explore five other reasons hybrid events have transcended trends and are becoming an institutional practice.
Reason # 1: Tap Into Inclusivity With Hybrid Event Solutions
One of the few silver linings of the pandemic was its wake-up call to employers who had to re-think how they treated their employees amidst “The Great Resignation.” Companies began making industry events and conferences more inclusive to keep staff and attract new hires. Consequently, virtual events surged, and their value became apparent: Companies could share their message with attendees who couldn’t travel because of COVID restrictions, family obligations, and physical or emotional limitations.
So, when restrictions were lifted, hybrid corporate events emerged as the perfect way to reach live and virtual audiences. Due to the massive reach hybrid events offer, they’re more relevant than ever and show no signs of decreasing in the future.
Reason #2: Bigger Keynote Speakers and Content Enrichment
Necessity isn’t just the mother of invention; it also births revelations. For example, being relegated to virtual events during COVID meant meeting planners could book more prominent speakers for Zoom talks at a fraction of the price. They no longer have to pay astronomical live-appearance fees, airline tickets, hotel rooms, and VIP accommodations for in-demand speakers. This clever strategy extended to hybrid corporate events. Today, we see it continuing to enrich the informative content for attendees, who are more likely to attend virtually or in person if there are well-known keynote speakers.
As tempting as a night of free steak sounds, speakers are much more likely to agree to a remote talk with Q&A if it’s streamed from the comfort of their home.
Reason #3: Increased Return On Investment
Don’t get us wrong, live events are exciting and offer a peer-to-peer connection that will always be invaluable, but large-scale live events are expensive. With hybrid events, your ROI increases because the cost of transportation, rooms, and catering is significantly decreased.
Additionally, the money you save on virtual attendees can go towards speaker fees, higher-caliber AV, and other elements that increase the impact and engagement of your event.
Reason #4: Increased Message Lifespan
You’re probably not producing a hybrid corporate event on a whim; you’re producing it to communicate an important message to the audience. One of the best advantages of a hybrid event is its ability to increase the lifespan and reach of that message since it’s been documented and recorded both in person and via virtual platforms.
Even after your event is finished, that message can be accessed and rewatched for years to come, which means those unable to attend the event online or in person can still benefit from the knowledge.
Reason #5: Rival the Engagement and Networking of Live Events
Live events have the advantage of a somewhat captive audience, so it’s easy to assume that they provide more possibilities for engagement and networking. However, with a little creativity, hybrid events can rival live ones on both counts.
At Tallen, we can increase engagement by integrating both live and virtual attendees so that they’re interacting through audience response questions, teaming up for games, and networking via virtual business cards and apps that link attendees regardless of their location.
We focus on creating engaging experiences where networking happens organically, with each type of audience working together. This strategy makes the interaction both more immersive and unforgettable.
For Innovative Hybrid Corporate Events, Partner With Tallen
Whether your hybrid event requires a simple outbound stream, two-way virtual interactions, or one-way inbound, Tallen has you covered. With hundreds of hybrid events under our belts, we’re ready to tackle your next event challenge. Contact us today and find out how we can take your next event’s AV to the next level.
How Creative AV Design Keeps Your Audiences Engaged
Posted By Tallen | July 12, 2023
Have you ever been in the back row of a general session and seen scores of laptop screens flash back at you? Not with enthusiastic note-taking- but with online shopping carts, muted golf games, and the occasional personality quiz to see which sandwich your zodiac sign would be. At Tallen, we’ve seen it all and have been in the audio-visual industry long enough to know creative AV design is essential to engaging an audience. Let’s explore how our creative department combines scenic design and AV equipment to produce an unforgettable experience.
Keep Your AV Company Options Open With This RFP and Contract Language
Posted By Tallen | May 03, 2023
In life and business, you get what you negotiate. This is especially true when planning a company event at an off-site venue. Savvy negotiation and communication allow you to partner with the AV company of your choice. Let’s look at how to navigate this process so that you can be confident in the audio-visual production elements of your next event.
Securing an Outside AV Company: Communication Is Key
We’ve found that many meeting planners are surprised they don’t have to use a venue’s in-house AV department. As we covered in our last blog, most venues’ “in-house” AV provider is actually an independent AV company that gives a substantial percentage of the AV spend back to the venue. When a meeting planner brings in their own outside AV company, sometimes the loss of that revenue is made up for in fees, penalties, and charges that you’re unaware of until after you sign the contract.
Luckily, there are easy ways to get ahead of these charges. Meeting planners are naturally strategic, detail-oriented people. Use these gifts to empower communication regarding your AV expectations. If you have an AV provider that you want to work with, establish that as a sine qua non early in the process, and have your venue contract modified to eliminate any fees for bringing in your own audio visual production partner.
This is a situation in which transparency is power. Be crystal clear with your wants and needs. Ask questions. Document everything. Save emails. Should there be a miscommunication down the line, these simple strategies will work in your favor.
Penalties: Knowledge Is Power
Negotiating a better position is difficult when you can’t see which boundaries are being crossed. Most venues are fair and honest, but it’s not unheard of for meeting planners to receive bills with fees never clearly disclosed in the contract. To help, we’ve compiled a list of common policies and fees you can address in your contract.
Make sure the contract stipulates that your staff, attendees, and vendors have the right to access rented meeting spaces when performing actions that pertain to the event.
It’s normal for venues to charge a fee for additional electrical needs if required. You should consult with your AV production partner to define your specific power requirements in order to ensure that you have what’s needed and you’re billed appropriately. Patching
Many venues will charge a “patch fee” if you want your AV company to patch into their audio system. The patch fees can range from $30 to upwards of $200 per room per day and are negotiable prior to the contract signing. We prefer to use our own sound systems allowing us to provide a better quality of audio and more flexibility with how we configure the room.
Before signing a contract, ask for a standard price list so you understand all fees associated with rigging lights and other AV components. You can ask for them to be listed again in the contract for extra clarity.
A venue does not have to provide storage space for vendor equipment, but it can’t restrict the client from storing equipment in the spaces they’re renting. Make sure the contract explicitly states this.
Load In & Load Out Supervision
If you don’t want your vendors to be supervised by the facilities staff or security, include a clause to address that. Just be aware that you assume the same liability for your third-party vendors as you do for your own staff.
Most venues in the United States do not require union labor for audio visual production services. It’s always best to confirm with your chosen venue if there are union labor requirements before signing a contract. If you find your event is taking place at a union property, it’s best to consult with your AV company, allowing them to coordinate and manage your union labor requirements.
Commissions, Fees, and Surcharges
The venue shouldn’t charge you or your chosen AV company access fees, commissions, surcharges, or restrict reasonable access simply for using (or being) a third-party vendor.
As you can see, some of these policies and fees are reasonable responses to safety code and infrastructure concerns. So, pick your battles and prioritize negotiating restrictions that penalize you for using an outside AV company.
Get It In Writing
When entering negotiations, it’s important to get your mindset right. To do this, you must embrace your event’s inherent value to the venue and leverage that. Remember that venues want to host your event to make money and increase patronage, so it’s in their best interest to negotiate with you if you want to partner with an outside AV company.
Earlier, we recommended that you should be direct and ask questions about fees and policies when speaking to a facility’s CSM. This is a smart tactic for any partnership, and it will help you gauge their interest and openness—but as they say in Game of Thrones, “words are wind.” You will need to rely on written contracts to ensure there is no confusion or setbacks.
Not all meeting planners send RFPs to venues, but if your organization does, include a “Buyer’s Rights Regarding Third Party Suppliers” clause. This clause stipulates that you can use outside providers without being penalized.
“Buyer will not accept or agree to any proposal or contract containing conditions, terms, or clauses which unreasonably restrict our choice of third party suppliers for our event(s) at any meeting facility, whether such conditions are expressly stated in the proposal or contract, or whether they are contained in the general operating policies of the facility, be they published or unpublished. Furthermore, Buyer will not accept or agree to any fees, surcharges, or penalties of any type charged by a meeting facility that are in any way based on or tied to our choice of third party suppliers, whether such fees are expressly stated in the proposal or contract, or whether they are contained in the general operating policies of the facility, be they published or unpublished. This ‘Buyer’s rights regarding third party suppliers’ clause shall be appended to all contracts that are executed by Buyer, and if it is determined that this clause is in conflict with any other clause, portion of any contract, or any general operating policy of the facility, then this ‘Buyer’s rights regarding third party suppliers’ clause shall be deemed to take precedence over the other item(s) with which it is determined to be in conflict, unless specifically agreed otherwise.”
Keep in mind that RFPs aren’t contracts. To ensure the meeting facility doesn’t penalize you for using a third-party provider, you can either add this clause to your own contract for the venue to sign or make sure it’s put into the contract they give you.
Words are wind, but written contracts are legally binding. If both parties are honest and provide timely information, your event could be the start of a longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship.
Choose Tallen As Your AV Company For Insider Knowledge You Can Trust
Audiovisuals are a mission-critical element of your events because they help spread your message to the right people in the right way. To take full advantage of the moment, partner with an AV company like Tallen. We use our twenty-plus years of experience to help meeting planners get the most bang for their buck so that their event goes off without a hitch and is a success for both the venue and your organization.
Explore Alternatives to In-House AV with Tallen
Posted By Tallen | March 31, 2023
There’s a reason why people are attracted to marketing terms like “all-inclusive” and “one-stop-shop.” Monikers like these suggest a breezy, convenient experience, unburdened by endless decisions and strategy. One need only show-up and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s unseen labor.
No one understands the appeal of these labels better than the hotels that repackaged them as “in-house” services. “In-house” elicits the same emotional response in busy event planners considering a hotel or venue for a large industry conference or annual corporate affair.
A hotel’s in-house services help them check elemental items off their to-do lists. Not only do hotels provide comfortable spaces and occupant capacity, but their in-house services can be genuinely helpful. And their in-house AV is like the cherry on top. While the prospect of eliminating AV equipment and technicians from your list is tempting, consider investigating alternatives that offer the same ease with superior capabilities. Here are the major benefits of 3rd party AV event production you should consider before signing on the dotted line.
3rd Party Pros: Passion Counts
A hotel doesn’t necessarily need your event to shine or make its bottom line. Their primary focus is booking and providing a great stay for their guests and visitors. With us, your event is our event, and we take that honor seriously. Our entire ethos is centered around creating and executing live, hybrid, and virtual events that are impactful and seamless. We started as an AV equipment rental company helmed by two audio-visual professionals, so we really get to flex our expertise and technical prowess when producing events for our clients.
Hotels have unique qualities like atmosphere, catering, decor, and staff, which all play a major role in the success of an event. While there are exceptions to the rule, in-house AV teams don’t often approach the audio-visual element of events with the same passion or advanced capabilities and equipment that we do.
3rd Party Pro: Transparent Quality Control
You wouldn’t ask a car mechanic to fix a spaceship or an arborist to cut your hair. The same is true for the technicians handling the audio-visuals for your event. They should be knowledgeable about the equipment so nothing is left to chance.
That’s why we’re staffed with AV technicians who have an average of ten years of experience under their belt, so there’s no gear they haven’t encountered and mastered and no event so complex that their skills fall short. We’re also able to procure the best equipment because we have resources all over the country. That means we’re able to deliver consistent quality and performance no matter the venue.
That’s an important distinction when determining who will handle your event’s AV needs because, generally speaking, a hotel’s in-house AV has a small onsite footprint due to space being a premium. So, when hosting multiple events at once, resources can be stretched thin, and they may have to outsource equipment and AV techs to supplement their capabilities. And there’s no guarantee that their freelancers will be familiar with the venue or with the microphones, mixer boards, cameras, etc.
For transparent quality control, it’s wise to go with a company like Tallen. We recruit the best of the best and treat them well, so turnover is low, and morale is high. That positivity leads to the kind of professionalism required to produce high-caliber events with spectacular audiovisuals.
3rd Party Pro: Clear Communication
Did you ever play a game of telephone as a kid? You sit in a circle, and the first person whispers a statement to the kid on their right. They whisper it to the next until it finally reaches the last participant, who announces a version so disparate from the original sentence that the meaning is lost.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any partnership. When it’s well-managed, workflow is more efficient, and people are empowered to deliver quality performances. To maintain that integrity, we provide one point of contact for our clients so that they receive streamlined, individual attention.
It’s difficult to find this at hotels where there are multiple employees that you have to meet with to organize the event, and their mutual communication may not be synced up. Initially, a large organization may inspire confidence. After all, more staff implies more help. Right? Not exactly. There are more channels for information to travel through and different communication dynamics from property to property. So each time you move venues, even if they’re under the same ownership, you’ll find yourself having to reinvent the communication wheel to pull off the same event in a new location.
Avoid a grown-up game of telephone by hiring a 3rd party AV company with a nationwide dedicated account team. Our communication strategy is more agile and circumvents correspondence mishaps.
3rd Party Pro: Straightforward Estimates & Billing
Corporate event planners have a lot on their plate, so detailed estimates and billing are appreciated. We get it. We produce everything from massive live events to international virtual broadcasts, and comprehensive accounting is a Tallen priority.
Our estimates are comprehensive and specific so that you know exactly which each line item is for in an easy-to-understand format. Plus, we’re able to maintain consistent pricing across venues. These practices help our clients plan and maintain their annual budgets and cost projections. And we don’t have to build the hotel’s compensation into our costs, which equates to further savings for our clientele.
This isn’t the case for a hotel’s in-house AV services, whose labor and equipment rates are impacted by venue contracts. Tallen, on the other hand, is able to maintain consistent pricing regardless of the venue or location.
When you do settle on a venue, make sure the contract allows for 3rd party AV. It stipulates that doing so will not incur penalty fees or excessive charges for basic amenities like internet access.
Remarkable Events Require Remarkable Audio Visuals
Tallen’s expert technical team has been on-site for thousands of events and yielded outstanding results, no matter the venue. Our seasoned pros are adept at working in concert with venues and staff to make your dream event a reality. Select a hotel for its aesthetics, vibe, and hosting facilities. And select Tallen for our world-class event production and superior AV performance.
Just have to start this out with a shout out to Andres Jaramillo for this past weekend. As usual he was amazing. Everything looked incredible and the event went off without a hitch. The totems worked out amazingly.