Should You Hire the Hotel AV Department
When planning an event at a local or out-of-state hotel, the time will come when you must decide whether to use the in-house hotel av department or hire a third-party A/V vendor.
There will be many factors in determining your decision. The important factor will be your relationship with the hotels audio visual department and how they are treating you. It goes without asking, “how important is this event to you?” as they are all important. I am sure with each event you plan, your intention is a flawless execution that excites the audience.
I have worked closely with many hotel AV departments. I have even hired hotel audio visual staff as our freelance technicians. I have found many skilled technicians with personality and great customer service and many technicians without either. Often times it will not be a matter of their level of skill or A/V knowledge but their lack of customer service and empathy. The big difference between using a hotel in house audio visual department or a third-party A/V vendor is their customer service and price.
In this Article We Will Discuss Both Service and Price
Customer Service! An in-house hotel’s A/V department often gets overwhelmed and cares less about the client’s wants and needs. They have very little invested in how well the show goes because their clients often fall into their laps. Hotels and their A/V departments are often connected by contracts. While many hotels will allow you to bring in a third-party vendor, many hotels are trying to run third-party vendors away by increasing the required insurance certificate minimums and/or running interference to make the set up and breakdown laborious.
Last year we had a horrible experience in Philadelphia after a three day event. We were rushed out of a hotel and forced to breakdown and clear the room, in less than 30 minutes. This left us with major tangled wires and broken equipment. In addition, we had to do this while the hotel reset the room around us and another company loading in, starting their set up.
Hotels can make life miserable for visiting A/V vendors. However, clients are choosing outside A/V vendors often based on their past experience with using the in-house department. The market was created by the performance of the in-house department. While in-house audio visual department’s are often providing A/V services for many events occurring simultaneously, a third-party vendor will staff your one event with technicians that are only focusing on your one event at that time. Our employees and technicians have a thorough understanding that our client’s satisfaction is imperative. Secondly they understand that our existence relies on repeat business. We do not have any clients that fall into our laps. We have to work hard to gain our business and continue to work…to keep it.
The second difference is price! If the in-house hotel audio visual department is required to ‘kick back’ a fee to the hotel, which many are required to do, then they will never be able to beat the pricing of an outside A/V company. If a ‘kickback’ is not required then the hotel is setting the audio visual prices and paying a portion back to the in-house audio visual department. Either method leaves the in-house department with little flexibility to discount. One method where our pricing can get beat is the leverage the hotel has to comp the audio visual equipment rental. Usually if the hotel is comping the audio visual they are making it up in the cost of the food or other chargeable areas. A client often decides to go with the in-house hotel audio visual department based on a false level of confidence that the in-house is located on the property so their response time will be immediate. If you do enough shows in a hotel you quickly learn this is not true. However, if our technician is on site during your event then our response time is absolutely immediate.
One of our other blogs speaks about itemized pricing. To read this blog click the link below.
Itemized Pricing Blog:
In closing I advise event planners to always get comparative quotes and definitely use your past experience with the in-house audio visual department as a major deciding factor. If you have an awesome relationship with a hotel in-house audio visual department by all means use them. There are many great hotel audio visual departments that will provide you with a pleasant A/V experience. If that has not been your experience call us immediately.
A.V. Rental Services, Inc.
4039 Comly Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19135