This is a very familiar situation in the meeting planner world — an event is executed flawlessly. The messages are clearly received, the audiences are impacted. Goals and objectives are fulfilled, expectations are exceeded. Naturally, the planners are often then tasked to replicate the same event next year…but with a directive to reduce the budget, especially the A/V.
However, it is simply impossible to cut the spend on service and quality and subsequently expect the same results. The reality is that while it is possible to become more cost-effective by reducing waste, if corners are cut and technology limitations end up derailing the event, then the meeting loses its value, and at that point it becomes irrelevant as to what the cost savings were.
This post will offer tips and advice for planners so they can work with their A/V partner to reduce spend without compromising the ability to meet the event’s goals and objectives.
There are two areas to seek cost reductions when it comes to A/V technology: equipment and labor.
On the equipment side, the most effective approach to reducing costs is to perform an analysis of previous events in order to identify any equipment and gear that could be taken away without causing any significant impact. Undertake this exercise far enough in advance of the meeting date so that you can come up with and examine multiple scenarios. The key aspect here is to make sure that the A/V provider is willing and able to very clearly articulate how each and every one of these equipment removals or substitutions could (or will) change the event.
When it comes to reducing personnel costs, a similar approach is advisable. Review prior meetings and look for areas to reduce the personnel, and, as with equipment, make sure to examine the effect that any personnel changes and reductions may have on future events. To be sure, this doesn’t mean that the planners should simply ask for technical staff to assume the burden of cost-cutting by working longer hours and/or accepting lesser pay for the same service. Instead, hone in on the different technical staffers’ specific skill sets and talents and look to leverage them in creative ways.
Meeting planners need an experienced A/V partner who understands the event’s goals and objectives. Even if the messaging, audience, and venue may be the same (the only obvious change being the calendar year and the reduced budget) every event and meeting is in fact different. The key to success is early, evaluative, collaborative, candid and frequent discussions between the meeting planner and the A/V partner about the technology budget (and goals and objectives of the meeting) for the event.
Andrew Taffin, CEO of Tallen Technology Rentals, co-founded the Iselin, NJ-based company in 2002. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andrew is also one of the founding members and former president, of the International Technology Rental Association (ITRA). For more information please email Services@tallen-inc.com and visit www.tallen-inc.com.