Once you’re a Seamless client, you’re always a Seamless client. Despite being one of the most meticulous planners I know, with over 13 years of experience, my colleague Jennifer Saliba (President, Rhino Consulting) recently ran into trouble with an in-house AV team she’d contracted to carry out a hybrid event.
With a week to go, the hotel venue’s AV provider informed her they would be unable to provide what she needed — despite her signed contract spelling out services and additional related documentation.
With such a short turnaround time, I wasn’t able to staff her event myself. However, I was able to fill in the missing pieces from her venue’s in-house team so she could have the event she wanted.
As I’ve been hearing similar stories from other planners, I thought it might be helpful to hear how Jennifer has changed her approach with vendors during this time of unprecedented AV and hospitality industry labor shortages.
In a previous post, I give you my “vendor view” on planning a successful event in today’s environment; Jennifer’s perspective adds additional points for consideration.
Here is her perspective and “four steps” to take before you commit to using an in-house AV team for your hybrid event.
In-House / Hotel AV: What to Check Before You Sign a Contract for a Hybrid Event
1. Verify there’s a full-time in-house AV provider at the venue. Even if you used the venue in the past, the situation may have changed!
Some AV pros are now shared among multiple venues and expected to meet each property’s needs. This puts the AV pro in a difficult situation, and increases the odds your event may not get the attention it deserves.
2. Get it written into the contract that 90 days prior to the event, a full-time in-house AV professional will be in place — or your venue will waive any AV liaison or supervision fee.
For those who haven’t experienced this situation, note that some venues require this fee when an outside AV company comes in.
3. Jump on a video conferencing call with any of your prospective venues and let them know you’re recording the call.
Discuss what your contract will cover and the labor / staffing needed for your event.
4. Confirm that your venue contract allows you to bring in an outside AV team you trust.
Get documentation for any and all costs associated with bringing in your AV partner, including broadband and electrical.
As mentioned above, using an outside AV team means that some venues assign — and charge for — an AV liaison or supervisor as a default. Negotiate this charge prior to signing, not after!
Bonus AV tips from Seamless Events
I’d like to close by adding two additional AV tips to Jennifer’s recommendations:
- In-house/built-in sound systems can be a cost savings not only in equipment but also in labor for set-up time. However, explore what the sound quality is and if that will work for your event.
- Know that even if a venue has full-time AV staff, it’s ok to bring in an outside AV partner with a collaboration mindset who’s invested in making your event run smoothly!
I encourage Seamless clients to negotiate any AV liaison or supervision fees the venue charges in this situation. The person assigned to this role doesn’t do any AV work themself—they just ensure rules get followed.
I want to give a big “Thank you!” to Jennifer for her time and expertise. We hope these preventative tips increase your planning confidence. If you do run into difficulties, please reach out to us!
“The pandemic fallout has created venue-AV provider monopolies that can be at odds with a client-centric approach. One reason I turn to Seamless is that Laurel’s communicative approach is very valuable to me. I know if I tell her what capabilities I need at the event and how my clients are going to be utilizing the space that she’ll put a proposal together that paints a picture of what I need. She won’t leave things out because she’s not listening or I didn’t ask for it.”
— Jennifer Saliba, President, Rhino Consulting