Ever wonder what is the best way for a planner to ensure they are getting the best value on their audio-visual equipment? If you are representing a company that only does a few meetings a year, then soliciting multiple competitive bids for your meetings is the best way to go.
Step 1: Gather as much information on your event as possible. The more info you have about your event, the better position you will be in to start your bidding process and allow you to compare apples to apples with multiple suppliers. Key factors should include the preliminary budget, the venue, the meeting dates, the run times, the setup & strike times, the audience size, seating type, and the room names. Providing information on the type of meeting – ie: general session, additional breakouts, breakfast meeting, presentation with Q&A, or audience response – will also allow your vendors to understand the scope of the program and the possible AV equipment and staffing you may need. The value of agendas is often times overlooked. Understanding when rooms need to be set and the flow, can allow an AV provider to maximize labor and equipment and potentially keep costs down. Video recording, Audience Response Systems, and broadcasting are all items that can greatly impact the cost of your meeting both in terms of labor and equipment. Knowing if these items will be part of your AV needs up front is key in making sure you not only get an accurate quote – but that the provider you pick has the knowledge and experience to execute them the day of the event.
Step 2: Define three quality vendors suitable for the event. Vendors with local resources can dramatically cut the cost of producing an event. Additionally, companies will often times have working relationships with the venue which will provide a connection between you and your event location. If you do not have contacts in the area you can start by performing an Internet search, searching the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or asking other planners for referrals in the area.
Be aware: If your event is at a hotel, quotes are often solicited from the in-house audio visual supplier. Most hotels outsource their AV services to companies that specialize in being an in-house supplier. In-house suppliers at hotels do not keep much inventory on site nor keep adequate amounts of trained AV technicians on staff. This can lead to inconsistent equipment condition, poor service levels, and pricing concerns. Review your hotel contract prior to signing and remove any stipulations that require you to use in-house AV or pay a fee to use outside AV should be removed.
Step 3: Choose your provider and start on your Meeting Planner – AV PARTNER relationship.
Be sure to read the next Blog – Making Your AV Provider an AV PARTNER