“Why is the WiFi so expensive?"
“How is your quote so different from the in-house?”
“How can we work with you if we are contractually obligated to use the hotel AV?”
“What can we do to bring this quote down?”
These are just some of the questions our clients present us with on a daily basis as they run into roadblocks and cost concerns through their planning process. But you don’t have to break the budget to have a great AV experience. By contracting early and working with your AV partner in pre-planning, you may be able to uncover some great cost savings.
Here are a few tips to help find those opportunities:
If you are considering bringing in any 3rd party vendors for AV, party supplies, furniture, technology, etc., make sure that you notify the venue during your RFP process and in advance of negotiations. Many times these items are left out of the negotiation phase and can be costly to you later if not discussed upfront. The reason for this is that the in-house AV provider and hotel both have a monetary incentive to make sure you utilize their services. If you decide closer to your event date to look at 3rd party options, they may separate the internet from their initial AV proposal and raise these costs. The hotel or in-house provider may additionally impose “Liaison” or “Security” fees for using a 3rd party vendor. Be sure to have a 3rd party addendum, or freedom of choice language included in your initial contract to help avoid these fees.
As mentioned above, be sure to let both the hotel and the in-house AV provider that you may be looking at 3rd party vendors. There should be integrity in pricing for their services, no matter who you choose as an AV partner.
Typically, these items are put into contracts by the hotel or in-house AV provider to ensure that their facilities and equipment are safe and secure from damage / theft. While this is a reasonable request, a standard Certificate of Insurance (COI) provided by your AV partner should cover potential damages. In other cases, the in-house AV provider may require that a “liaison” be present to oversee load in of a 3rd party’s AV equipment if they have installed equipment in the venue. If you will be utilizing any of the installed equipment, this is certainly a reasonable request, otherwise if this equipment is outside of the scope of work your event would require, be sure to have this red-lined in negotiations.
Lean on your resources for assistance with negotiating liaison / security fees, internet, vendors, etc. In most cases, hotels would rather have "heads in beds" and keep your return business than lose you after one event to make a few extra bucks on AV / internet commissions.
Do you need the entire production team on-site every year, or can you utilize your AV partner’s local resources to supplement your lead team? Or, can you utilize these resources to have an entirely local crew and cut out travel costs? Discuss this with your AV partner to make sure you have the most appropriate and efficient labor plan for the event.
Bring some of your own equipment to reduce rental costs. Some items that may make sense:
Planning for a storage room during your site selection can save both costs and headaches down the road. The more central of a location this is to your contracted rooms, the better.
Although you sent out the same RFP to 3 outside AV vendors, as well as the in-house, you received four different proposals with four drastically different price points back. How did this happen?
Other considerations to consider as you compare proposals:
Taking a close look at all of these variables and how your AV partners have interpreted the provided RFP can help to answer many questions and potentially save your event a great deal of costs.
Article written by Jonathan Little, IMS National Account Manager.
Feeling pressured to use the “in-house” AV company at a hotel? Ever been hit with fees for using an outside partner after you have signed a contract?
While there are many in-house organizations throughout the country that have a very good reputation for being fair in contract negotiations with their clients, we often hear questions regarding charges and fees to use outside vendors, or have supervising staff in place to oversee any outside production, load-in, etc. Many times, these stipulations and fees are being disclosed to meeting planners after a contract has been signed.
The reality is that YOU as the CUSTOMER have rights during contract negotiations that allow you to CHOOSE who you want to partner with and avoid excessive charges.
Our "Know Your Rights: Contracting for AV Services" ebook will provide the tools you need to negotiate contracts that allow you flexibility and choice of event providers, including:
- Understanding why venues have these policies
- The key terms to look for in your contract, including rigging and storage
-A sample buyer’s rights clause for your contracts