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There’s nothing like that squeamish feeling an event planner gets as an uncomfortable silence fills the ballroom as the AV tech runs up to the stage to save the keynote speaker from malfunctioning mics or video equipment. Except maybe when the event planner sees the AV estimate for the first time.

AV costs can add up, especially when including lighting, sound, and video for the main room, and then all of the gear for the breakout rooms. That’s before you add in labor costs. Plus Event Planners need to be on the lookout for hidden or unforeseen expenses. Venues are catching on to the client’s frustrations with increasing AV costs, and are happily outsourcing AV to third party companies, just so they don’t have to deal with negotiating those costs. But keep in mind, there are a few things you can do to save on AV costs.

If the hotel permits outside AV companies, they will normally charge you an “outside vendor” fee. Always ask for that fee to be waived. Also check to see if they are charging you for an in house liaison. Again, waive that fee as well. Ask several companies to bid on your event, including the in house provider, and be honest, let them know that there’s competition. I’m not going to preach the use of outside AV companies (because, surely, you should call Event Audio Visual first-LOL!). You should choose the company with the best vision for the right price, and the company that you feel is truly vested in what they do!

Other costs savings:

-Venue Selection: Sure, that venue is beautiful and historical, but it sucks for your AV costs (there’s not enough power, there are no rigging points, etc). Ask yourself, “What’s more important for your conference, atmosphere or technology?” Also, ask to see the back hallways or backstage. Is it clean or messy? The backstage area can say a lot about the people who work there!

-Gear Rentals: Shop around, everyone has a different price.

-Don’t be intimidated by the AV terminology. A lot of these technicians seem like they are speaking a foreign language when talking about their equipment. Ask questions, ask about strange line items, and do your research. A reputable company will take the time to answer your questions to make sure you understand their proposal. They will also tell you if you really need that piece of equipment or if you can go with something less expensive.

-Don’t incur any unforeseen costs! Make sure you know the speaker’s needs before the show. There have been many times when we’ve been asked for certain “urgent” items that the keynote speaker requires while we are loading in for the event. It costs a lot more to bring in gear in an emergency situation!

-Think about having fewer breakout rooms and minimize equipment in those rooms. Do you really need wireless mics in the breakout rooms or can you use podium or handheld mics?

-Give AV staff plenty of time for setup and takedown. If possible, reserve the space a full day in advance (especially if it’s a morning meeting) or you’ll end up paying more for extra labor if time is tight. Same for load out. These costs can really add up if not planned out correctly! You can plan an event with the best of them, but “stuff” ALWAYS happens, and building in extra time always helps clean it up!!

A good relationship is key to your AV provider, or any other provider for that matter. You depend on them to make you look and sound great. The AV element can be overwhelming, but a good partner will take that load off of your shoulders so that you can keep the rest of the event on track.

Event Audio Visual specializes in audio visual production and lighting services. What sets us apart from other companies is that we set very high standards, and we work tirelessly to exceed your expectations every time. We are one-stop for all of your audio, visual, and lighting needs. Simply put…We do it right, we don’t cut corners, our equipment is in mint condition, and we only hire the best people.

Event Audio Visual specializes in audio visual production and lighting services. What sets us apart from other companies is that we set very high standards, and we work tirelessly to exceed your expectations every time. We are one-stop for all of your audio, visual, and lighting needs. Simply put…We do it right, we don’t cut corners, our equipment is in mint condition, and we only hire the best people.