As we’ve said before, Audio Visual technology allows you to turn up the volume so seamlessly attendees will be impressed and may not even know precisely why. And therein lies the rub when it comes to proving the value of what’s often the 2nd most significant cost of your event budget.

Because lighting, audio, video, graphics development, etc. and the technology, as well as the support work they entail, aren’t well understood by laypeople, and invoices can be long and confusing, sticker shock is a peril. The instinct of your event sponsor can be to ‘cut the fluff.’

As smart event planners know, though, there’s usually not a lot of fluff to be cut without negatively impacting the audience experience. Here’s a starter guide to help you show the value of the top 3 AV line items to your event sponsor:

  1. Lighting: People need to see your message, but good event lighting goes so far beyond that. The right light energizes or relaxes a room, sets the tone for getting down to business or creates the intimacy necessary for an evening of networking. Lighting on your invoices will vary based on what is being lit and the size of the room. There may be enhanced stage lighting based on the scenic and stage size and lighting that is supported via a truss line may cause extra. Lighting designers and engineers are labor roles necessary to assist with enhanced lighting.
  2. Audio: Have you ever been to an event where you can’t hear the speaker? That’s because someone didn’t calculate just how powerful the sound system would need to be to handle the size of the room. Or how ‘bout when the microphones repeatedly broke down during Q&A? It’s likely an inexperienced tech said ‘OK’ without explaining the potential drawbacks when someone chose the cheapest mic available. Premium broadcast qualities will vary regarding pricing. Based on the requirements of the attendee experience and the space, the audio solutions may vary.
  3. Labor: Working with experienced technicians is critical to event success; it may cost more in dollars but will save you significant headaches and ensure your event comes off without a hitch. Load-in, set-up, tear-down, and load-out – these are all part of your AV bill (and a big part at that). Don’t add to them by forgetting to book the venue for these times or you may be charged venue overtime fees. During the venue selection process conduct an in-depth site survey to note operational and accessibility issues which can help avoid additional labor costs. When getting your labor estimate, get specific estimates for expected delivery windows, how long it will take them to set-up, etc. And don’t forget – when you’re evaluating and selecting venues, make sure you ask if union labor is required as it can impact labor pricing.


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