than for background music and ‘the lights are on in the parking lot’
announcements, ceiling speakers are worthless. There are places
you’ll want them, in the lobby areas, etc., where you’re doing background music and fill. That’s fine, but in the meeting rooms, no.”
Test Internet connectivity during the site inspection: “Do your
site inspection at a time when the building is full and try to log in.
When the building is full you can see if it’s working and where the
choke points are.”
“Make no mistake about it, this is hard work,” Cherny said.
“There is nothing easy about anything I said—there are no shortcuts here. That’s the hard part. All the time people are looking for
the shortcuts and the easy way to do it, and there just isn’t. The
planner who’s willing to dig in their heels and be aggressive is
going to get the best results for their clients.”
Christa Scannell, Director of Business Development,
Southwest Region, Markey’s Rental & Staging
“I come to the business with an event planner mindset, said Christa
Scannell, director of business development, Southwest region for
Markey’s Rental & Staging. “In the first conversation with the AV
company they should be asking a lot of questions of the planner:
room size, how many attendees, what are you trying to accomplish,
what’s your objective?”
Be up front about what your budget is, and ask for options:
“What’s your must-haves versus your nice-to-haves? First, what
has to happen, then let’s talk about something that would be nice
to have, and let’s see if we can make it work. There might be ways
to add value for something the planner wants once you have that
Bring in your AV partners early: “I think some people avoid brining their various partners in early because they think it’s going to
cost more, but an AV company is not going to charge you more. It’s
actually going to save you money. They can help you troubleshoot
things, such as rigging, power and labor.”
Get a quote and stick to the plan: “Post-quote decisions can trigger additional spending, like adding an extra breakout session.”
Ask the AV company about trends they’re seeing: “What have
you seen lately? Have you worked on a conference or meeting like
mine and tell me what works? That engages them. It builds that relationship and trust, and then they’re immediately more engaged
in providing a solution and providing ideas.”
Consider piggybacking on another show in the building: “Who’s
the show right before me? Is there any way we can mutually
benefit each other? From a labor standpoint, definitely. The AV
company also wants the extra business.”
Use LED fixtures for lighting: “LED fixtures for lighting consume
less power and are more lightweight, so they impact rigging in
a positive way. You may spend a little more per unit for those
lighting fixtures, but there can be aggregated savings because you
don’t use as many rigging points. Using LEDs means fewer rigging
points, less energy and less labor.”
to Ask Your AV Team
Contracting audiovisual ser- vices is one of those areas of meeting planning that can be a
mystery—and a potentially expensive
Planners venturing outside of their
comfort zone and into the tech- and
labor-intensive realm of the AV supplier
can arm themselves with knowledge
by asking the following five questions,
provided by Markey’s Rental & Staging,
a comprehensive audiovisual commu-nications company for event rental and
staging, in-house support services for
convention centers and hotels, on-site
corporate services, production services,
computer rental, video production and
basic equipment rental.
1What is most important to your company? Is it price, is it technology, is it customer service? Learning what a company
truly values can help you choose an
AV partner that is like minded. As you
start to collaborate, you will find that an
aligned partner with common interests
and goals will help you execute your
event with much more success.
2How do I get the best bang for my budget buck?
All planners want to create a meaningful event for their attendees and
often their grand plan is more grand
than the budget will allow! Don’t panic;
instead, get with your AV partner and
explain your grand plan. Find out what
ideas they have to help you achieve
your goals and stay close to budget.
Oftentimes they will have great suggestions on how to bring your dreams
to reality and maximize your budget
in creative ways. In the end you get
the “wow” you hoped for simply by
collaborating with your AV team.
3What collaboration and communication tools do you use?
The key to a successful event is
communication. Tools like Microsoft
Teams, Basecamp, Dropbox and Google
Docs make it easy to communicate and
collaborate. These tools help planners
and their partners stay on the same
page as details evolve and change
throughout the planning process. A
collaboration platform allows for all the
critical event information
such as diagrams, seating
and other documents to
be stored in a single place
to ensure that everyone is
accessing the latest version.
AV teams need to be willing
to use their clients’ communications workflow and tools
if they have preferences.
And event planners should
not be afraid to ask for a
tutorial on the software the
AV team uses.
4What is your experience with the venue? AV companies help produce
shows of all shapes and sizes nationally each year. They have worked in
nearly every major venue and likely
have been in your next venue space.
They know the ins and outs, such as
room sizes, layout, load restrictions,
venue policies, lighting needs, windows
and columns. Ask them what unique
challenges or opportunities there may
be with the site and how to utilize the
space best. At Markey’s, we love to tour
the space with our clients and offer
input at the early stages. We can even
digitally scan the space and provide
realistic renders to help you visualize
how your event will look and feel.
5How can you help max- imize my attendees’ experience?
Engage your AV partner and ask for
ideas. They have the experience of being
part of a large variety of events, each
with a different scope and scale. They
can bring little pieces of different events
to create a truly memorable experience.
The key is getting your AV partner
involved as early as possible. The later
they get involved, the less ability there is
to help you find appropriate solutions.
MARKEY’S PRESIDENT’S DINNER AV SET AT MPI WEC 2018
SOURCE: MARKEY’S RENTAL & STAGING