Good AV is essential to your meeting success and a great way to bring the wow factor to your event, but it can also eat up a lot of budget too. Here are 9 tips to save big bucks on your audio visual expenditure.
Having a solid AV set up at your event, provided by a tech team you can trust to deliver, is essential to keeping an event planner smiling. Likewise good sound, screens and lighting are basics that your participants expect to be right if you want to keep them happy and attentive to your event content. Unfortunately though, no event manager has a bottomless budget and your AV bill sometimes has to be trimmed back to stay in the black.
- Bring In Your Own AV Company
Of course it’s convenient to use the hotel’s in-house AV Company, but that convenience can be really expensive. The hotel AV company needs to pay a large commission of your invoice to the hotel (40-50% on average). To cover that, you will need to pay a premium. If cost is a major concern, and especially if you want any specialized equipment or technicians, you should always consider bringing in your own AV Company.
- Think About AV When Negotiating and Booking Your Venue
If you have a preferred AV company that supports your events, you should bring them with you for a site visit to the potential venue. Make it clear upfront that you intend to use your own AV partner. At a minimum, make sure to negotiate the contract so that it leaves you the flexibility to choose the best vendor for you.
Get Several Competitive Quotes
AV companies will compete aggressively for your business. By taking competitive quotes back to your preferred vendor, you will usually be able to negotiate a lower cost. If you find out that the prices are similar from multiple companies, you can at least make sure you’re getting the highest value solution for that budget.
- Book Multiple Meetings at the Same Time
If you have a number of upcoming meetings, consider using a nationwide AV company. They’ll be able to help you no matter where your meetings are located, and they’ll give you a quantity discount for multiple bookings. As well as potential cost savings this also helps ensure consistency in setup, service and quality between your different event projects and locations.
- Give an Option for Virtual Attendance
It’s great to attend a meeting in person. You’re able to network face-to-face, sit down over meals, and have a shared experience. It’s also expensive to attend meetings, especially when you factor in airfare, hotel, meals, and the opportunity cost of being out of the office. Many planners are moving to hybrid events, combining a live event with a professional webcast, to give the best of both worlds. There is even the option to monetize virtual attendance if you wish.
- Ask Your AV Provider to Help You Uncover Inefficiencies
It is always worth talking to your AV provider to learn any areas where savings could be made. If you have multiple meetings, a great AV partner will provide you with improvement ideas after each one. Ask them to have a Project Manager onsite who can identify opportunities to lower your costs by optimizing crew size, eliminating unnecessary equipment, and looking for ways to get the work done in less time.
- Consider Various Service Levels
For some events, you may need full service, including setup, onsite technicians to run the show, and teardown. For other events, you may simply need a self-service equipment rental. Make sure you’re not paying for service you don’t actually need.
- Think About Creative Sponsorship Opportunities
There are many event technology solutions that allow you to add powerful sponsorship potential. You can often pay for these technologies through the sponsorship revenues, and sometimes they can be profit drivers for you. For example, you could rent a video wall and utilize the displays to mix sponsorship messages together with event information and social media activity.
- Ask Your AV Provider to Give Multiple Options
A good AV company will not provide you with a “take it or leave it” proposal. They should be able to present several options, at various price levels, for you to choose from. An AV partner will work with you to identify different solutions to realize your vision, whilst staying within your event budget.
Audio visual plays a vital part in the success of your event and you want to be sure to get it right. With these 9 tips you can be sure that you are saving money on AV and achieving the best value for your event, without compromising on quality.
(Social Coup LLC)