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Simplifying Audiovisual: What to ask before you hire an A/V partner

August 31, 2015

What you should know before you hire an A/V Partner

Hiring the right audiovisual company can be a bit like trying to navigate your way through a maze blindfolded. This is especially true if you’re not familiar A/V technology, the requirements of your group or the venue hosting your meeting. To help guide you through the process, we asked three audiovisual companies to give their suggestions on booking A/V. We asked for help simplifying audiovisual with specifics on what to ask before you hire an A/V partner.

Here is their list of the 10 most important considerations when booking A/V:

1) Take the time to interview the A/V company.
Get to know the team, ask for references and actually call them.

2) Does the company own their inventory or do they have to rent?
Is their inventory up-to-date and in good condition? Or do they rent equipment from supply houses, providing only the A/V techs? Well-maintained, up-to-date equipment is crucial to the success of your program. It’s best to work with partners who carry their own inventory (or at least a majority of it), have A/V technicians familiar with that inventory and who are able to handle any issues that may arise.

3) How long has the company been in business and are they financially stable.

4) Can they meet your budget?
Be realistic, do you want caviar but have a McDonalds budget? Some things may be negotiable but rarely A/V techs and labor. Communication is key in the planning stages, fully disclosing your budget and your vision will help both you and your A/V supplier plan accordingly and make any adjustments necessary to meet your expectations.

5) Do they have a history of being on time?
No explanation needed here – there’s nothing worse than waiting on last minute set-ups with no rehearsal time.

6) Are they familiar with the area and the venue?
Each company we spoke with stressed the importance of working with a partner that fully understands the area and the venue. Load-in locations can sometimes be tricky and require additional labor, some venues charge for load- in, especially after hours. Just as important as the load-in is knowledge of the room(s). Is there existing equipment? How much does the venue charge for patching into the house sound? How much does it charge for pulling electricity? Knowing this information ahead of time prevents any last minute surprises and charges for both the client and A/V partner.

7) Does the company have the ability to travel with your group?
Do they have partnerships in other cities enabling them to provide reliable and cost effective services elsewhere? Once you’ve found an A/V partner you can rely on and one who understands the needs of your group, why go through the entire process again. Many A/V companies either have preferred relationships in other states and can easily share you’re audiovisual history and requirements, or they offer volume based discounts and will travel with your group.

8) How much time is required for set up and strike of A/V equipment?
Labor can be one of the biggest expenses of audiovisual production. It’s crucial to the bottom line to know just how much time is necessary to set and strike and just how much time is available. Prepping a room, setting equipment and running sound checks in a short window will require additional labor, knowing timeframes will enable you to secure accurate A/V bids.

9) Will an A/V technician be onsite during the entire conference?
Ideally, it’s best to have an onsite technician available to monitor your A/V set up and ongoing conference needs – especially those unplanned ‘emergency’ pop-ups! If an onsite tech is not in your budget, consider making adjustments in equipment needs or at the very least plan for help during the most important aspects of your conference.

10) Does the A/V company carry insurance?
Seems crazy to think that there are A/V rental companies operating without insurance, make certain you’re A/V partner is not one of them. Ask if your supplier is fully insured, you don’t want to be covering any damage to a venue from careless installation or injuries to attendees.

Doing your homework ahead of time will enable you to secure accurate quotes (especially important if your comparing multiple bids) and ensure a smooth running, stress-free production!

Planning a successful event requires strong, reliable partnerships; no one can pull off a one-day event or a weeklong conference alone. That’s where we come in; Visit Newport Beach is your one source for planning meetings in Newport Beach, CA. Our little slice of paradise features seven upscale properties and an abundance of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space. For more information about Newport Beach or help with accommodations contact Visit Newport Beach, Inc.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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