When it’s time to select your venue, a site visit is one of the most critical steps. Not only do you get to physically step in your space and imagine your event coming to life, it’s a chance to ask the most important questions with your potential venue team.
Unfortunately, so many of us are busy with the details of the space contracts and food and beverage minimums, that our time with AV providers is often cut short. On your next site visit, be sure to squeeze in some time with your AV partner and ask these questions to ensure a successful event.
What would you recommend to make a greater impact with my budget?
If you only ask one question, this is it. As planners, of course we have ideas right out the gate with an inspiration board – but no one knows the space better than an on-site event experience team. During your site visit, discuss your vision and ask what they would do to make it work within your plan and budget.
Because they have worked so many events within the very space you’re standing in, they can take the groundwork of your initial plan and elevate it – whether it’s rigging screens differently for new vantage points or trying new seating levels. This discussion can change the whole direction of your event and catapult it to new heights.
What other services do you offer?
These days, AV companies do so much more than just audio-visual. With teleconferencing, content design, and event internet, the same company will likely be able to provide you with almost everything you need for your event. So, before you start the taxing process of looking around for extra technology quotes, be sure to explore the opportunity of leveraging your in-house partner.
Are there any exciting new technologies I can employ?
It’s the old adage of “if you don’t ask, you don’t know.” Technology changes rapidly, and there may be something new on the horizon offered by your event partner. Maybe it’s a new mobile engagement app that could be a great way to show meeting value to your stakeholders. Your provider will be eager to talk to you about everything they have – you just have to ask!
Who will be my point of contact, and how hands-on will they be?
Don’t wait until you’ve already signed a contract to ask this question (or worse, until there’s a day-of crisis). Ask up-front how big their team is, and who will handle which parts of your meeting. It’s also a good idea to find out if the entire team will be on-site, or if there is an off-site team (for example, in the case of internet), so you know exactly what you’re dealing with going into your meeting and who’s on first.
What information do you need from me?
Communication is a two-way street, and your event partner may have some questions for you as well that will spark some ideas. Be sure to open up the conversation and make sure they have a full understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish up-front to avoid complications later on.
Arming yourself with these questions for your event partner during your site visit can instill confidence in your decision with venue selection, and ensure a seamless event from the start with a team that understands your goals.
It happens to everyone. The holiday season creeps up on us and before you know it, it’s November! For us event planners, that usually comes with the annual task of planning a corporate holiday party.
We always want to keep both our stakeholders and attendees happy. So here comes the million-dollar question: how can I make my party different than last year. Even if you’ve already booked your venue, it’s not too late to add some last-minute ideas to make your holiday party stand out and keep your guests talking about it well into the new year.
Light it Up – Depending on how big your party – and your budget – is, lighting is the easiest and most effective way to add décor to your event. If your guest list is rather small and intimate, tasteful string lights carried throughout the ceiling would be a nice touch to add a twinkle effect. Or, if you have a large space for a lot of people, you can really knock it out of the park and video map a snowy winter background across the walls to give that true holiday party feel.
Add an Instagram Wall – One of the most fun and trendy additions, a decorative wall to take Instagram selfies and group snapshots is an easy way to get your party on social media. For the holidays, get creative with ornaments, greenery, or tinsel. You can even add props like reindeer ears, Santa hats, or party horns to engage your guests.
Bust a Move – What’s a party without music? This event is probably the one time of year everyone at your company can let their hair down together. Give your guests something to dance to with a curated playlist of tunes that’ll keep them going long into the night. Don’t forget to protect yourself from any legal issues by using music that is licensed for public performance. Playback music providers, such as PSAV Music, include the appropriate licensing and royalty fees. All you have to do is select the station (which is difficult enough!).
Keep the Menu Simple – Holiday parties are a great time for guests to mingle with coworkers they might not see every day. This year, forgo a plated meal and opt for a cocktail-style reception with food stations. Not only is it a great way to get your guests interacting in a mixer-style fashion, but it’s also an easy way to address food allergies and dietary restrictions.
Leave it to Your Venue Team – Because they’ve planned countless holiday parties in their space, developing a relationship with your onsite venue partner during the process is key. The experts on your venue team not only understand your vision, but can bring other ideas to the table that you may not have thought of before to add that extra spark. Just like the rest of your coworkers, you’ve worked hard all year long. Don’t miss out on your own party by stressing over the details throughout the event!
The Wrap Up
The simplest additions to your holiday party can leave a lasting impression. Talk to your venue and AV team today about how you can incorporate these ideas to make your 2019 holiday party the best yet.
When we first become meeting planners, we quickly realize that there’s a whole new world of terminology to familiarize ourselves with. From contract language and event orders to taxes and food and beverage minimums, the knowledge we have to accumulate – at a fast pace, and on the job – is simply overwhelming.
Today, I’m here to break down the most common AV terms you’ll run into throughout your career in a way that makes sense, and point out how these solutions can be used to help bring your vision to life.
Video Mapping – One of the quickest ways you can transform the look of any space. Sometimes referred to as “projection mapping,” video mapping is the projection of images (or videos) onto a flat or 3D surface or object. There are so many possibilities that video mapping deserves its own blog post, but here are two: backdrops for presentations that you can easily switch out between sessions, and artwork projected on the outside of a building for a unique arrival experience.
Bandwidth – The maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection or the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. With the right amount of bandwidth your event can do incredible things – like power a global webcast or have your entire audience engaged in presentations via a mobile app like Chime. For more on bandwidth and knowing how much to buy for your event, check out our full post on event Wi-Fi.
Gobo – One of the most common lighting tools with one of the most indistinguishable names. Essentially, a gobo is a stencil that goes in front of your lighting to project an image or a pattern on a surface. Commonly used in weddings to temporarily highlight the couple’s initials on the dance floor, there are tons of ways to use gobos no matter what type of event you’re planning. Think brand launch parties with the company logo and color palette, or a celestial-themed gala with constellations on the ceiling and stars on the wall.
Truss – Structures that allow lighting, video, audio, or any other staging equipment to be hung. Basically, a truss is what makes it all happen! Your AV expert will often discuss room design, so it’s important to understand the basics of how a truss will impact the setup. If you have a larger meeting, a truss is needed to flow screens and speakers throughout the conference center to make sure everyone can see and hear the action on stage.
Throw Distance – The appropriate distance between the screen and the projector for images to show up correctly. When something moves fast, we usually say it’s “faster than the speed of light.” But it doesn’t always move as far as we want it to move. Lenses in projectors can only push out an image so far before the image starts to get stretched, blurry, etc. So, when you hear the term “throw distance” come up from your AV provider, don’t panic -they’ll handle the technical part of the setup. You can help get the best experience for your attendees by providing high resolution content ahead of time, or work with your AV provider to create new content for your event.
Remember: while understanding AV solutions and equipment is helpful and can save you from last minute panic, the real secret behind any successful event isn’t memorizing a dictionary of terms. As long as you work on developing a relationship with your Director of Event Technology – or someone on your AV team – you’ll have a trusted individual in your corner from start to finish. They’ll not only know these terms (and so many more!), but they’ll understand your goals and help you achieve them.
As a meeting planner, we’re faced with tough choices every day. From selecting venues to coordinating stakeholder travel, the details are endless.
Selecting an AV provider might be one of the biggest – and toughest – choices to make. The decision to stay in-house or to go with an outside vendor is a constant conundrum. With such fierce competition, it’s important to understand the value.
In today’s blog post, we’re looking at the top benefits of using an in-house AV provider.
Knowledge of the Venue
Knowing you’re getting the most out of your space is imperative. When discussing your audio-visual needs, no one will know the space better than someone who lives and breathes it every day. From infrastructure to technology, chances are likely that your in-house AV team has already executed something similar before and is not only equipped to answer every question, but can help you get creative with event design and bring your exact vision to life.
In-house AV teams are strongly connected with the hotel venue team as a whole, meaning your event will be rooted in solid working relationships and good communication. Plus, an added benefit to having your team in-house is that there’s a single point of contact for you to manage.
Imagine having a change to your plans. How much easier would it be just to contact your venue, knowing that they will take care of the rest? When you can limit how many participants you have in the chain, planning your event will be much easier and less stressful.
Fast Room Turnover
One of the biggest advantages to having an AV team in-house is that most of the equipment is already installed: rigging points, projectors, etc. So, what does that mean for us planners? Rooms can be adjusted on the fly with little-to-no setup time, and your meeting (even if it has a strict agenda!) can run smoothly.
For example, for events with a lot of breakout rooms or last-minute room usage, it’s a lot easier for in-house teams to accommodate last-minute changes because they know the space. Outside AV companies have to coordinate separately with the venue.
When you think “in-house AV,” start thinking “sustainability.” You might not realize it, but by choosing an in-house AV vendor, your meeting’s carbon footprint is reduced. Venues that have their own provider are local and invest in energy-efficient technology. That means there’s no shipping, technician travel, per diem costs, and no personally-owned equipment malfunctioning during transport. As planners, we have enough things to worry about; damaged equipment during transportation should not be one of them.
With in-house AV, you’re signing up for a venue-supported, seamlessly aligned experience. Using an in-house supplier is convenient, efficient, and ultimately ensures a smoother, more impactful experience for your attendees as well.