When event planners book a hotel or conference center, they are often told that they are required or encouraged to use their in-house AV company for the meeting. The pitch goes something like this:
"We would like you to use XYZ Company for your event because they have all their equipment onsite, their pricing is available to you right now, and they are very familiar with our venue."
Sounds good, right? Maybe yes and maybe no. Here are 6 things to consider when engaging with any AV provider, from an equipment, budget, and resource prospective.
Check the employee turnover rate of the providers you are considering.
If the in-house supplier has a large turnover rate, especially their AV technicians, the playing field is level with any outside provider. That in-house supplier may actually have LESS experience at the meeting facility than the outside vendor. Ask this question of all your potential providers because long-term employment with minimum turnover shows stability within the organization.
The in-house supplier is working for the hotel, not for you.
Sad, but true. The in-house AV company is most interested in keeping the people at the hotel happy; where an outside partner is contracted directly with you, the event planner. The outside company wants you to call on them again and again for business, so they will do everything in their power to keep you satisfied. "Just because an AV company has a good relationship with a hotel (or pays them a fat commission) doesn't mean I or my client gets the best service," said James Maynard, Director at Adventure Sports.
Send out at least 3 RFPs, including one to the in-house company.
Merle Klein, Director of Meeting Operations at MFM Lamey Group said, "Bids from in-house companies are almost always WAY over the top." Remember, a cut of what the in-house provider charges you is going directly to the venue.