When we surveyed event planners, we found that 85% of planners chose their venue before they chose their AV providers and because now in-house AV companies work so closely with hotels, a lot of times choosing your venue locks you into using the in-house AV company. We have found that this can sometimes cost much as two times more than using an outside AV company. In the case of the hotel we recently worked with, in Washington D.C, they had this policy in their venue contract:
“When third party suppliers are utilizing the XYZ Ballroom or fifty percent of our meeting space, a mandatory 25% Technical Service Charge will be assessed on outside audio-visual equipment and services based on the equipment rental price for the same or similar equipment from ABC.”
In many other venues, the way they charge you for using an outside provider might be as obvious as a percentage fee or flat fee for using them. Some will state they openly welcome outside AV companies but on the back end will hit you with things such as an AV liaison fee, rigging fees, floor covering, and more.
While we have covered the pros and cons of using an in-house AV company vs. an outside AV company many times, and this added cost may be worth it to you for the convenience of using their team, but what if you don’t want to use their provider, what if you have a company you use and trust?
At Endless, we recommend finding your vendors before the venue (Especially AV companies – watch our webinar on “Top Tips For Hiring An AV Company” for more details why). Flipping the traditional planning process and involving your vendors early has proven to save clients a lot of money. Vendors will help you navigate these frustrating fees but more importantly give you leverage to say no. This leverage could save you anywhere from 25% to 50% off your total bill.
We are finding more and more planners are moving toward this new process of selecting vendors before their venues but are still running into problems with fees and general headaches when trying to use an outside AV company. The most common question is “What do we say to get rid of these fees?”. Well, now we have created a resource to allow you to eliminate or at minimum reduce fees when using an outside AV company.
We made this resource ensure event and meeting planners will be able to use an outside AV vendor in any venue or facility without additional fees or charges. Feel free to change or edit this to your liking, to seek competitive bids for AV services in a venue even if you do not currently have an AV partnership. In other words, this has been created to keep your options wide open.