Your Pre-Event Checklist: 6 Things Your AV Partner Should Know
The most successful events are born out of lots and lots of planning so every detail is perfect. When you engage an AV company for your event, the more information you can give them, the better your event can be. From driving the message home to attendees to protecting your budget from overruns, your AV team can be true partners in the success of your event.
Here are six things your AV partner needs to know so you receive the best possible event:
1. What are your goals?
Your events have a purpose—what do you want to achieve with this event? If you’re launching a product, you’ll have a very different goal for your event than if it’s an informational event. Share your hopes for the event with your AV company and they can deliver an event experience that moves your goal forward, rather than just taking an order for how many mics and screens you think you need.
“Being really clear on what our clients’ end goals are, goes a long way to putting the best event together in the best way possible,” says Christopher Gerhart, president of EPN member Crescent Event Productions.
2. What are some AV challenges or issues you’ve had in the past?
It’s important to avoid the mistakes of the past, so if you’ve run into problems with AV in the past, bring them to your AV company’s attention.
“We do a post-event debrief after each event, so if you’re an existing customer, we’ll have a good idea of what could be better for this event, but if you’re a new customer, one of the first things we ask is, ‘what kind of issues have you had in the past with AV partners?’” says Gerhart.
3. Can we help you with venue selection?
“If you involve your AV team on the selection side, you can save a lot of money and headache,” says Gerhart. “If we’re involved early in the process, we can be a partner, not just a vendor. As a partner, we can advocate for our clients’ dollars and ensure budgets are spent well.”
Extra expenses your AV partner can help you avoid or minimize include fees for using outside AV, rigging, power and wi-fi/internet. Your ability to hire anyone besides the in-house AV company without incurring extra fees depends on it being written into the contract with the venue.
Your AV partner can also help with some other venue details that you may not think to ask about. For example, is the venue a union shop? That may drive up your AV labor costs. Did you book a 24-hour hold on the rooms? If not, then the hotel may schedule another event right after yours ends, which will require your AV team to tear down the stage and equipment in a crunched timeframe that will rocket your labor costs up.
Bringing your AV partner in before the venue contract is signed can help you avoid these extra costs and ensure your event goes off smoothly.
4. What services are you paying the venue for?
If you tell your AV partner about services—like power, rigging, or wi-fi —you plan to purchase from the venue, the AV company can help you minimize those costs:
“We had an event recently where the planner hired a furniture company to deliver furniture throughout the room,” says Gerhart. “Each of the chairs had a charging station. If we don’t know about that, we can’t take it into account when we order power from the venue. Telling us about that kind of thing in advance prevents you from paying for power twice or having to order more power at the last minute.”
5. What did you do last year? What do you want to do this year?
AV is a technical field and your partner shouldn’t expect you to have complete grasp of everything—after all, that’s why you’re bringing in a partner to help with AV. If you’ve done this event before, one thing Gerhart recommends is to provide your AV company with the AV invoice from last time.
“I’m not looking for an unfair advantage, so I tell planners to white-out the company name and pricing. I just want to see what was provided last time for this event. Besides the invoice, I’ll ask for an attendee-facing schedule and an internal schedule for the event and with these three documents, we can quickly determine what you’ve done in the past and what you need this time around,” says Gerhart.
6. Let’s check everything one more time
Preparation makes perfect. Once everything is all set, check it again. Gerhart leads his clients through a two-hour call prior to events, just to make sure everything is in order.
“Ten days before we load the trucks, we’ll do a tech review call where we step through the whole event, day by day and session by session,” says Gerhart. “Little things come up on these calls—like this session actually needs two mics instead of one—and it prevents a fire drill onsite.”
Comprising 24 of the AV industry’s premier live event staging companies, EPN members are consistently chosen by event planners and producers when they need events that wow. Representing 27 major markets across the United States and Mexico, EPN has you covered, no matter where you are. Find your local AV partner here.