Venuetown introduces Ryan Peddigrew of Quest Audio Visual with important insights for Event Planners on Debunking The “In-House AV Myths”

What does “in-house” even mean?

In this case, “in-house” refers to the contracted audio visual or AV contractor within a hotel, convention centre, or venue. When event planners book a venue, they are often encouraged to use the venue’s in-house AV contractor for their event. It is a common misconception that the in-house supplier is the obvious choice for AV support, due to sheer convenience. Getting a quote from an outside AV contractor allows planners to compare pricing and service against that of in-house suppliers.

In a budget conscious industry, it is imperative for planners to ensure that they get what they paid for. As an Account Manager with Toronto’s Quest Audio Visual, I have the pleasure of working closely with event planners on a daily basis.  I have had countless conversations with clients regarding the misconceptions surrounding the use of in-house AV suppliers for their events. I decided it was time to address and debunk these “in-house myths” once and for all.

Why does the venue want me to use the in-house AV contractor?

Most venues will receive a commission when booking AV services through the in-house supplier that they are contracted with. An outside AV contractor who is not required to pay commissions, can ensure that you are receiving the value for money.

Do I have to use the in-house AV supplier?

Unless the venue has a specific exclusivity clause stated in the contract, the answer is NO. Some venues may charge a fee for bringing in an outside supplier.  However, these fees can often be negotiated out of the contract during the booking process. Outside AV suppliers are well aware of the variables involved in competing with a venue’s in-house supplier. Mostly, outside AV suppliers will work with you to help offset any additional costs incurred for bringing them in.

The in-house AV contractor is always the obvious choice, right?

In-house AV contractors are often responsible for managing numerous events taking place in the same venue at the same time. This means that you may not receive their attention when things get busy, unless you are billed for it. By contracting your preferred outside AV supplier, you are paying for dedicated support for your event – and only yours.

When planning your next event, remember to ask yourself these crucial, yet often overlooked, questions:

  • Does the venue have any sort of exclusivity clause that contractually binds me to use their in-house AV contractor?
  • Are there any additional costs for bringing in an outside AV contractor that I should be aware of? (prior to signing the venue contract)
  • If so, can I request to exclude this clause from the contract to leave my options open?
  • Have I received a competing quote from an outside AV contractor to ensure I’m getting the best value?
  • Will my AV supplier provide a dedicated project manager available before, during and after my event?
  • During my event, what will their availability be like? (i.e. How many simultaneous events are they expected to handle?)
  • Will my AV supplier provide floor plans or renderings so I can actually visualize my event?
  • Am I completely comfortable with the list of equipment provided? (Don’t be afraid to ask questions!)

After all, the audio visual component of your event is the channel to convey your message to your audience. If you’re accountable for effectively delivering that message, you should feel confident about the team that you have to execute.