WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – June 31, 2015
Most seasoned event planners know that there are definite positive and negatives in deciding whether to use a venue’s in-house A/V company and equipment or work with an independent A/V company. Sometime a venue requires you to use their in-house team, which further limits your options and may even have you considering a change of location. This decision could greatly affect your event, whether that means changing venues or re-organizing the flow of the event itself based on the capabilities of the team chosen.
One of the biggest plusses of using the in-house A/V team at a venue it that it is “their” venue. They (should) know the structure, layout, size and capabilities of this venue better than any outside team you could bring in. They should know where every electrical outlet is, whether you will need additional power, how high the ceilings are, how bright/dim the lights can be and much much more.
Another positive in using the in-house A/V is that their equipment and staff are on site. If their equipment inventory is large enough, they should have back-ups of all essential pieces, so if there is a problem during your event the fix should be quick and easy. This also applies to staff, because the staff is familiar with the venue, they know how long it will take to put together their equipment and in what configuration.
One of the negatives of using the in-house A/V team is that they do not have to have competitive pricing. If you are limited to one option, and one option only they essentially have a monopoly on their service at that location. This means that if you have no other venue options, you will be forced to pay whatever their quote is.
*There are sometimes ways to work around this, call if you would like recommendations of how to best work with an in-house team
Another negative in using the in-house team is that you are limited to the equipment they have in their inventory. Some may rent from outside companies when the need arrises, however many will use the “good enough” approach, if that sound system was good enough for the last event, it will be good enough for yours too.
Independent A/V Professionals
One of the greatest positives of working with an independent company for A/V support for your event is flexibility. Independent A/V professionals are able to bring in support specific to your needs. If you need amazing audio they will bring in the “audio guy” – And if you need something specific they do not carry, they are typically more than willing to go out, find it and bring it to your event. Independent A/V professionals also will be at your venue specifically for you. They will now have to spit their time at one location between your program and the one running in the conference room down the hall.
Independent A/V professionals do most of their work based off competitive pricing. We know that our clients are shopping around, so if our quote is 25-50% more than our competition we will probably not get the job. For this reason, it is in our best interest to price our services appropriate of the market.
Another benefit of working with an independent A/V company is that if you have worked with them before, you know their services, their staff and their capabilities. You trust them and their services, which means that there will be less stress when it comes to planning and preparation for your event. Also, in having a personal relationship with your A/V team you can feel comfortable calling them at any time to discuss changes or concerns.
The main negative of working with an independent A/V company is that if they do not understand the location you could run into problems. If you event was planned last minute, or if for some reason your outside A/V team was not able to do a site survey of your event space, there is a chance that they are not fully prepared for your needs. If they have not been given the opportunity to understand the venue, from the heights of the ceiling to their power capabilities, there is a chance that something will be overlooked.
In conclusion, there are a number of reasons to use either an in-house or independent A/V team. It varies greatly on whether you already have a relationship with a company or if you are flexible with the venue. If you have excellent contract negotiation skills, that may also be a determining factor in your choice. Either way, it is very important to know what you want, have a team you trust and do your research beforehand.