In celebration of tomorrow’s Independence Day, it is only fitting to write a blog post about your rights as a meeting planner when it comes to in-house rental providers. While, it is true that most hotels and conference centers offer this service and pitch it as one less thing you need to worry about, I think it is important to understand their relationship doesn’t necessarily work in your best interest.
The truth of the matter is: You are allowed to bring in any Audio Visual supplier you want! As a courtesy, I would recommend you receive their bid, but please keep the following points in mind when selecting your audio visual rental provider:
In-House AV Provider works for the Venue, not for you.
This is a cold, hard fact. You do not have two bosses and neither does the in-house provider. They work as a partner of the venue and while I am certain they will do their best to provide you with good service, there are no guarantees.
An outside provider, on the other hand, works really hard to keep and earn your business every day. They want a long-term relationship with you and work toward that end.
In-House Provider is limited by the Equipment they have.
Rather than finding out your meeting wants and needs, the in-house provider will try to sell you what they have available.
You want a partner that will work toward a solution that works for you on all fronts – for your meeting, your presenters and your budget. A partner that has lots of options and can pitch those to you is better than one that tries to make their equipment work for your conference.
In-House Provider Pays a Commission to the Venue.
This is probably the greatest conflict of interest and least talked about story of all – when you sign on with the in-house provider, the venue is receiving a hefty commission for serving up that vendor to you. Research suggests it can be on the order of 40-60% of the total deal which in turn is going to make your rental fees higher.
If a venue states you must use their in-house AV provider, find another venue.
Your ability to bring an outside supplier into the venue is predicated on negotiations agreed to BEFORE you sign on the dotted line – but in no way, shape or form do you need to sign on with the in-house provider. If the venue staff insists, then find another venue.
Don’t fall for extra charges.
Many times, the venue will try and tack on additional charges if you use an outside vendor such as, move in/out charges, storage, labor and electrical charges. Sometimes these charges are valid and sometimes they are…well…not so valid. Understand them completely and try to derive exactly why they are there.
In the end, it is absolutely within your rights to bring in an outside AV provider. Look around and see who can meet your needs – you might be surprised to learn what all your options are!
At Hartford Technology Rentals, we thrive on building long-term relationships with clients and offer a consistently valuable production experience for their events – regardless of the venue you book!
If you are planning an event, anywhere in the nation, contact us to learn how we can help!