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Different Types of Audiovisual Partners for Meeting Planners

Audiovisual is a daunting task for meeting planners to master while planning a business meeting or conference. AV can be the most crucial element of the production, affecting both the message of the program and the engagement level of the audience. During the initial stages of planning, meeting planners must choose which type of partner will handle the program’s audiovisual and event production. But with so many options, budget limitations, and different equipment needs, it can be difficult to know which path to take. Let’s review the different types of AV companies and which are the best fit for your meeting size, budget, and more.

meeting planner AV guide how to select an AV partnerIn-House AV Companies

In-house AV companies support the audiovisual needs of a hotel or venue and are physically located inside the hotel.

The benefits of utilizing in-house AV include familiarity with the property and operations team, locally housed equipment, and responsiveness. If you need them, they are in their office just down the hallway!

However, because they’re the incumbent AV option, you must be on the lookout for outdated equipment, less experienced staff, confusing quotes with hidden fees, and added costs such as rented equipment that was not in the original scope of work. Hotels have agreements with these AV companies to receive a portion of their revenue, so there may be less flexibility to meet the meeting planner’s budget.

When to Use: The best fit for using in-house AV will be smaller, less complicated meetings with minimal AV budget and basic AV needs, such as a projector with a screen or pipe and drape.

selecting an AV partner for meeting plannersOutside AV Companies

Outside AV companies typically have a warehouse of their own and offer a large variety of AV equipment. Corporations may have a master agreement with an outside AV company to streamline procurement costs and standardize contracts.

Compared to the in-house AV option, outside AV companies will have a more extensive collection of equipment and competitive pricing. Outside AV companies will also offer CAD drawings and renderings of the general session, so you can be sure of the stage set and design.

Hiring an outside AV company may mean focusing more on equipment and less on the technical staff and content needs for a conference, so be cautious of program requirements beforehand. The hotel may also force additional charges to bring in an outside partner. If this is the case, there will be a requirement to negotiate the costs down with the hotel or be prepared to accommodate the fees in the budget.

When to Use: Consider an outside AV company for a medium-sized meeting with many breakout sessions and additional equipment needs.

meeting planners selecting AV partnerProduction Companies

Production companies can be a one-stop-shop, providing equipment, technicians, and content creation. They have a core team for lead production roles and vetted support techs. When booking a conference at a venue or hotel, it is essential to negotiate the contract to allow the use of an outside production company.

Production companies have specialized, experienced technical staff, and content management experts. They are typically flexible, competitively priced, and up-to-date on the latest trends and equipment. It is recommended to work with the same production partner year-over-year, providing the opportunity for key stakeholders to become comfortable with the techs and the AV partner to become familiar with the program’s nuances.

Downsides of hiring a production company may include equipment shipping costs and travel expenses for production staff. Ensure that the internet, power, and rigging costs are also included in the budget. Also, be aware that hotels may price gouge if the contract verbiage does not allow for an outside AV partner.

When to Use: Plan to work with a production company when the meeting and general session are large-scale, the budget is adequate, and the content is complex.


Stay tuned for more Meeting Planner AV guides in the future. Let Brightspot know how we can assist you with your next meeting or conference. Head over to our events page to see how we can enhance your event and make you shine bright!



Brightspot Marketing

Author Brightspot Marketing

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