If you're planning an event, you'll most likely need an audio visual provider. With so many providers out there, it can be difficult to know who to choose. That's why it's important to ask the right questions to ensure that you find the right provider for your event.
In this article, we'll discuss some essential questions to ask when choosing an event audio visual provider.
Availability and Schedule: The first question you should ask is whether the provider is available on your event date. You should also inquire about their schedule for the day. Most audio visual providers are able to take on multiple events simultaneously. However, they do have limited resources and if your event is during a busy season such as graduations in the spring and end of year events in November and December you could be faced with the challenge of finding an audio visual provider who is available on your specific dates.
Services offered: You should ask what specific services the provider can offer. For example, can they provide lighting or staging? The majority of audio visual providers have this information on their website and are able to provide these services either directly or through a subcontractor. For example, we have established trusted relationships with other audio visual providers, videographers and photographers that will allow us to provide additional services for a price that is less than or equal to what you would pay if you were to contact them directly. Also, you have the added benefit of not having to source these services and organize their integration yourself.
Previous experiences: You should ask about the provider's previous experiences with events similar to yours. This will give you an idea of their expertise and whether they are a good fit for your event. All events are not the same. For example, live concerts have different requirements than speaking events. Our specialty is in corporate events, speaking events, meetings, and galas in the form of in-person events, hybrid events, livestream events and on-location demonstrations.
Equipment and Back-up Plan: You should ask about the equipment the provider uses and whether they have a back-up plan in case of technical difficulties. As an event planner it is hard and stressful to imagine and be prepared for every scenario. Well, you can rest easier knowing that most audio visual providers want to provide you with the best possible experience regardless of whatever issues may come up. We secretly pride ourselves on solving and being prepared for anything. For example, our event planning process involves going over every connection and device involved with your event multiple times in different scenarios to ensure that we have the most effective and secure setup we can possibly have to ensure that your event goes off without a hitch.
Technical Assistance: You should ask if the provider will have a technician on site during your event. This will ensure that any technical issues can be resolved quickly. Typically and audio visual provider will in the very least supply you with an assistant to oversee the proper use of the equipment and to make sure that the equipment isn’t damaged or stolen. The essential question here is how much assistance do you need? For example, we frequently provide audio visual services to various TEDx events in Vancouver. These popular speaking events sometimes involve multiple speakers each with their own slide presentations. For these events we typically provide two technicians. One for audio and one for slide presentations. We are also involved in the collection and organization of the presentations as well as assembling them into a master slide deck. This ensures that your event runs smoothly especially if you have presenters with last minute changes.
Set-up and Pack-up Time: You should ask how long the set-up and pack-up time will be. This will ensure that you have enough time to set up and that the provider will be able to pack up and leave without disrupting your event. This is potentially one of the simplest yet most important questions to lock down because it can influence your entire event. Lets start with set-up time. This is the time where your audio visual provider gets to set-up and, more importantly, test their equipment. This can require anywhere from a few hours to a whole day or more depending on the complexity of your event and can influence your venue rental cost. This time is very critical because it allows your audio visual technicians to test and work out any challenges that may come up such as hum due to the electrical system or RF interference. With pack-up time it’s important that there is enough time in the rental to safely take down and pack up all of the equipment. There are times when another event is booked immediately after your booking ends and to put it mildly, trying to pack up and load out while another crew is trying to load in and set up is a f-ing nightmare that can lead to lost equipment which you may be liable to pay for.
Feedback and Improvement Suggestions: You should ask for feedback on how the provider performed and if they have any suggestions for improvement. This will help you improve your event in the future. In most cases we have a follow-up communication with our clients. This is especially useful if you are new to planning events or it’s your first time planning a large event. We recently provided services for the 1st Annual Compassionate Inquiry Conference which was a 3 day event that involved presenters in a main room and four breakout rooms. All rooms had live audiences however, the main room and two of the breakout rooms were also livestreamed. This was their first experience with an event at this scale but thanks to detailed planning the event went without a hitch and our follow-up communication only had a few comments on improving their next event.
Payment and Billing: You should ask about payment and billing procedures to avoid any surprises after the event. Most audio visual providers require a financial commitment before committing to your event. This is typically in the form of a 30-50% deposit of the total amount quoted to be paid within a certain timeframe prior to the event. Also, many audio visual providers require having a valid credit card on file.
Follow-up Support: You should ask if the provider offers follow-up support after the event. This can include technical support or assistance with post-event analysis.
Choosing an event audio visual provider can be daunting, but asking the right questions can make all the difference. Remember to ask about availability, services offered, equipment, technical assistance, set-up and pack-up time, feedback and improvement suggestions, payment and billing, and follow-up support. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and choose a provider who is professional, reliable, and experienced.
In summary, by asking the right questions, you can ensure that your event runs smoothly and is a success.