“We’ve worked with a lot of AV companies, and Tallen really stands out… with their outstanding service and problem-solving approach, and they are a true partner for any meeting planner.”
– Phyl Monroe, Senior Events Manager for Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services
When it comes to meeting and event planning, companies have been adapting to changing technology at a rapid pace over the last several years.
The modern event planner navigates a new world of technology hardware and services, while engaging with more AV and equipment providers from different technology categories than ever before. At the end of the day, the planner of today needs to be able to depend on their AV vendor for so much more than just providing gear.
Tallen Technology Rentals spoke with CMP Phyl Monroe, Senior Events Manager for Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services, about the importance of choosing the right vendors and managing relationships,
Wolters Kluwer, a global information systems and publishing company, has about 18,000 employees and maintains operations across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
In conjunction with designing events for the company’s Corporate Legal Services Group, Phyl Monroe also handles all vendor negotiations, logistics and site selection with some outsourcing for hotel negotiations and a third party to assist with high-end customer events.
Learn directly from Phyl here on the Tallen Blog as she addresses some of these challenges.
Q&A with Phyl Monroe
Understanding and managing different vendors is a big part of the modern day meeting and event planner skill set. What should a corporate meeting planner expect from their AV equipment provider?
The right AV provider can actually serve as much more than just another vendor with a set of price lists, and in fact if the relationship is managed right, they can become significant partners through the entire process, especially when it comes to planning multiple corporate events. Once the basic expectations are met, such as top quality technically advanced equipment, on-time delivery, technical expertise, rapid and thorough problem solving, it often comes down to trustability.
How is that level of trust between the meeting planner and AV provider developed?
A trustable experience is one in which the planner knows the AV technology provider will analyze the entire project from a holisitic standpoint (budget included) then provide fully accurate and objective information which will serve to make sure that the planner is able to avoid mistakes or oversights by anticipating needs. From my perspective, as a CMP for over 15 years, I have relationships based on trust that are built up over time, but a more junior planner should be duly diligent and research the different vendors that are out there.
What sort of things should junior planners do to help them connect with the right AV vendors?
Always talk with other meeting planners and share experiences and opinions of different vendors, and “war stories” – and this is very important – get out there and network with event and meeting planners from a wide variety of industries as well. The more the industry differs from yours, the better.
You mentioned working with the AV provider through the entire process, so at what point in the process should the event planner bring in the AV technology provider?
From my perspective, as a corporate planner that mainly runs internal meetings (as opposed to customer-facing events) I advise bringing the AV vendor on board as early as possible. When we are discussing the business objectives tied to a meeting or series of meetings – this is before we even progress to the stage where we are planning the agenda – it’s very beneficial to have access to their technology expertise. This approach really helps the planners align the event’s true business objectives with the equipment needs; otherwise you’re often just getting a price list.
In your opinion, what are some other important features any client should look for in an AV rental partner?
A vendor that provides the same technical staffers across multiple events is key. One point of contact for all sales, technical support, and billing questions also makes the entire process more efficient. We look for cost-efficiencies in planning events by not having to re-invent the wheel each time we have a program in a different city. Fixed national pricing is very helpful. The bottom line is an overall emphasis on consistency is really important.