Freedom of choice is a fundamental right not just in the AV industry but across all aspects of life, as it gives people the free will to make decisions independently without coercion or manipulation. However, meeting and event planners often find themselves in a bind after choosing a venue and being compelled to work with AV providers that don’t match their specific needs, causing friction in terms of service, delivery and budget.
As such, it is very important for meeting planners and event organizers to be extra careful and categorical in their vendor contracts, such as event venues and with in-house AV vendors, to avoid signing away their freedom to choose the AV provider they want.
The Importance Of Keeping AV Options Open
In a technology-obsessed world, audiences expect the best out of every event in terms of event planning, management, and execution. For the most part, delivering consistent high-end events requires working with an AV company that understands your needs, especially regarding branding, audience expectations, equipment preference, and other vital internal factors.
Keeping your AV options open when booking a venue ensures you do not unknowingly delegate your AV needs to another AV company (that works closely with the venue). With that, you have the freedom to explore the whole ecosystem and select a service provider whose talent, team, equipment, rates, and experience resonate with your preferences.
Three Examples of the Ideal Contract Language to Use
- Detail event specifics in the RFP
Outline clearly in the RFP that you intend to keep your AV options open so you can attract proposals from venues that are flexible, and protect your rights once you have signed the contract.
Please be advised that our company has a pre-existing partnership with an AV provider who is familiar with our specific meeting format requirements. This provider will be utilized for the majority of our audiovisual needs. However, it is possible that additional equipment or labor may be rented from the in-house provider during onsite events. In your response to this RFP, please exclude any fees or charges related to our company or AV partner. It is important that your facility openly discusses and addresses these requests before they are included in the final agreement. We expect this to be addressed in any proposals prior to submission to our company.
- Request to be informed of any possible hidden fees
Point out specific instances where extra charges would be applied when you engage an independent AV service provider.
Our company retains the discretion to utilize our preferred AV provider for all audiovisual requirements without incurring additional fees, charges, or penalties on our company or our AV service provider. These charges include (but are not limited to):
Room preparation charges
Flat daily fee for outside vendors
Wall covering requirements when not necessary
Extra charges for podiums, staging, heating, basic power, air conditioning, etc.
Supervisory labor when moving in or out of the venue
Possibility of new labor or contracts if none was agreed upon while signing the contract
- Be mindful of the contract timeframe and how event changes are managed
Now that hybrid events are becoming a prime consideration in reaching more audiences and enhancing convenience, it’s important to request a clarification of the same in the RFP, especially when these changes are in effect midway into the event planning. The contract should be open so that meeting planners can bring in new vendors, such as providers for a virtual platform if they decide to make an event hybrid halfway into the planning process.
Clarity is critical in the quest for executing successful events. Therefore, requesting to understand everything from technology restrictions, charges, timeframe, and other necessities should not be compromised. Working with a good AV provider helps streamline the process as they are able to share options and enhance your event without restricting how you source your technology and other aspects of your events.