How to Choose an AV Provider
Choosing the right audiovisual provider for your upcoming event can involve a lot of time, energy, and research – things that complicate any event planner’s life. From cost to convenience to communication, you can often make your job easier by selecting the in-house AV provider.
Whether your event is at a hotel, convention center or resort, an in-house AV provider is the all-in-one solution you need to host a successful show. Here are the benefits of going in-house:
In-house AV vs. Outsourced AV
First, let’s define what “in-house AV” means. By and large, an event venue will have an AV company on contract to provide their services in exchange for a percentage of revenue. In some cases, an event venue provides a preferred vendor list, which includes AV companies that make bids for the business.
Outsourced AV is using an external AV company to bring services in to the venue. If you have a go-to partner that you’ve consistently worked with in the past, you may choose to go outside. There are a few drawbacks to outsourced AV that deserve consideration:
The outsourced company will need to undergo vetting for various requirements, such as proof of proper insurance.
It can take a lot of time, energy and research to find a reputable, trusted outsourced AV provider.
An outsourced company may not be familiar with the existing equipment at the venue, causing operational or compatibility problems when they try to connect their own boards, speakers, and controllers.
In-house AV, however, provides many benefits that will make any event planner’s life easier.
First, in-house AV teams offer an all-in-one service – the venue is booked, the event is planned and every detail from start to finish is managed by the in-house team. The client is able to dictate the production as they wish, otherwise, the AV team can lend their expertise to help create a spectacular show.
Secondly, the in-house team will know exactly how to run the venue’s AV, meaning the lighting, audio and video are serviced by the same people that work with it day after day. From the building’s infrastructure to acoustics to the technology needed to put on a great show, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that an in-house team has prior experience managing everything for that venue.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, an in-house team is more experienced than an outsourced provider when it comes to anticipating client needs for their venue. A team that works within the venue will have experience serving many different events with various requirements. Ultimately, they’re able to deliver a more reliable and consistent level of service.
Additionally, as the in-house AV team is a crucial component of the venue’s event team, there is already a healthy relationship and strong communication between the two, meaning you won’t have to worry about coordinating with outside teams.
How to Evaluate an In-House AV Provider
If you haven’t worked with a venue’s team before, you may be hesitant about choosing an in-house AV provider. Before you sign a contract, you should know what to look for and which questions to ask.
Things to look for in an in-house AV provider:
Quality indicators – Industry awards, client testimonials and venue reviews will give you reassurance that you’re working with a quality in-house AV team. Additionally, take a look at past events to see whether or not they were successful.
Proper planning and execution – Attend planning meetings prior to the event to make sure that the AV team is accomplishing what’s outlined in your production brief.
Questions to ask a potential in-house AV provider:
When using a hotel, convention center or resort for your upcoming event, an in-house AV provider will most likely offer their services. Here are some questions you can ask the venue manager to ensure you’re choosing a qualified team:
How much time will I save with in-house – what is the process to maximize the efficiency of production?
How is the team structured – if one of the key technicians decides to leave, how will the company recuperate the AV production?
Who is the tech evangelist – how does the person in charge keep up with new technology and the best ways to utilize it?
What technical information is provided – is the technology compatible with the needs of the production?
Is the AV equipment inventory rotated regularly – is out-of-date equipment replaced and current with the latest industry tech?
What other roles support the in-house AV team – while the in-house team is setting up and running AV equipment, who is in-charge of other necessary operations, such as maintaining and storing the equipment?
Room for Compromise
If you’re not entirely sold on the idea of using an in-house AV team, as using your own outside resource is still more appealing, there may be room to compromise by utilizing both. Outsourced and in-house AV teams can work together to make an excellent combination in some situations.
In many cases, event planners can be restricted by time constraints and timescales between the venue’s bookings, making it hard to coordinate the moving parts of a comprehensive AV install from an outside company. The majority of in-house AV teams will be more than happy to integrate your team into their team so you can get the best of both worlds.
When you have both two teams working together, major parts of the production such as technical support, sound systems, lighting and stage sets are taken care of, helping you meet any tight deadline.
Utilizing in-house AV provides multiple benefits in ensuring your event’s success. Having a plan in place, knowing what to look for and which questions to ask will help you navigate any upcoming hotel, convention center or resort contract. Weigh each option and make a decision based on what makes the most sense for the current event. You may find that in-house teams are just what you need all along to make your job easier.
Whether you’re trying to increase efficiency, optimize production processes or implement a high-end content delivery system, an in-house AV team can provide all of that and more – all you need to do is take the time to evaluate their qualifications and you’re poised to host an unforgettable event.