Renting Audio Visual Equipment? Know Your AV Bill of Rights
Dec 12, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
bill of rightsHave you run into a situation where a hotel or conference services manger has pressured you into using their in-house AV supplier? While this may all seem like it is in the interest of great customer service, what you should know is that their underlying motivation may have more to do with money than what is in the best interest of your event.

Meeting facilities recommend certain suppliers because they can earn a significant commission if you choose that supplier. However, since AV is such an integral part of all meetings and events, doesn’t it make sense that you should be at the helm of this choice? To me, I can’t see it being any other way. I might chose the in-house supplier, but then again, I might not. I want the best supplier for the best dollars. Period.

Venues may have to charge you what are considered "fair and reasonable" fees when you choose an outside vendor, but those fees must be specifically spelled out in any contract you sign. Below, are your AV Bill of Rights. 

Article I: You have the right to be informed about all AV-related policies and charges, BEFORE you sign the facility contract.

Get everything in writing and make certain you know the cost comparisons of using the in-house AV vendor vs. bringing your own audiovisual partner. Challenge the charges you don’t understand or don’t seem to hold up as being "fair and reasonable." Your leverage is before the contract is signed, not after. So, uphold your power and don’t give it away.

Article II: You have the right to bring in your own event audio visual rental firm

A venue cannot prohibit you from bringing in your own rental company in the meeting space rented by your organization provided it is consistent with the purpose of the event and such equipment conforms to local safety standards. 

Article III: You have the right to free access to the building with no additional fees.

Your AV partner has the same rights you do and as long as they provide the conference services manager with a move-in/move-out schedule in advance, there should not be any fees associated with those times and dates.

Article IV: You have the right to understand any rigging fees that may apply. 

This is one area you may have to pay an outside rigging contractor, especially if safety or infrastructure concerns abound. If you are attaching anything to the ceiling or walls, understand the fees that will apply and again, make sure they are fair and reasonable.

Article V: You have the right to understand any additional electrical fees. 

Often times, meeting facilities will roll these fees into the in-house AV cost and it will be hidden from the planner. Work with your audiovisual provider, well in advance of the meeting, and before the contract is signed to understand the additional electrical workload their equipment is going to place on the venue’s normal day-to-day electrical usage. This is one area you should expect a fee, but your AV staff should help you determine a reasonable cost estimate so there are no surprises. 

Article VI: You have the right to store the audiovisual equipment onsite.

Make certain to work into your facilities contract an AV storage room that can be locked. There may be a nominal charge for this, but for a large meeting, it will be worth having all the equipment onsite for the duration of the meeting.

AV Event Solutions provides state-of-the-art conference equipment rentals. Give them a call today to learn how they can be a fantastic alternative to in-house AV providers. Priced to meet the client’s needs, they service the meeting and event industry for the entire state of California. 

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