When it comes to making the key decisions that will decide what the audience will see and notice during your event there are some things to keep in mind as you start the creative process. First knowing how many people you plan to set for at the location will determine how big your stage area is and how far away the last person in the audience is seated from the stage. Knowing these things and a few others are important when the design process begins. Having a realistic budget is also very important, there are many occasions over the years where our clients have wanted big and spectacular but they have a budget that doesn’t allow for this type of event. So deciding where the best place to put your companies money becomes a key decision.
For example you might have a large group and have always expected to have video screens so that the presenters can use powerpoint in their message to your audience. Powerpoint is a useful tool to communicate your thoughts in a visual way, however it is also very over used and sometimes going without screens and projectors can save you a lot of money. Instead renting some curtains or set pieces that create a theme or brand for your event will be money better spent.
This one key factor is the most important decision you will make when it comes to planning your event. Looking at hotel ballrooms or convention centers as a place to hold your event is a starting point. But simply walking into and empty ballroom space or reading about the square footage of a room on the internet can be a big mistake. If a ballroom is 10,000 square feet this could be a room that is 100 feet by 100 feet or it could be a room that is 10 feet by 1000 feet. We would assume that you do not want to have an event inside of a space that is only 10 feet wide by 1000 feet long. But if you simply rely on a hotels web site to determine if your event will work in this space that is a big mistake.
Before you sign any contract with a venue it is extremely important that you ask somebody in the event producing business to come along or look at the space for you to make sure that the production of your event is not compromised because the space doesn’t work and now to get out of your contract it will be a very expensive decision.
In many cases paying an event company a consulting fee to simply help you determine if the space will work is well worth the investment.
When you are looking at a space and have not decided on an event company here are some key things to keep in mind.
1. The ceiling height of the room
2. Does the room have rigging points in the ceiling to hang equipment from.
3. Who might be in the rooms around you that may cause problems with sound.
4. Making sure that you have adequate time to set up and strike your event.
5. Checking the venue for the size of their freight elevators and loading docks
There are many occasions when your event is so small that even though there may be 200 people in the room for the day you do not need any lighting, video, projectors, or a stage.
But you will need a microphone for your speaker and you might decide to have music playing when the audience arrives and leaves. So now you need some speakers and a microphone and a small mixer and don’t forget you will need someone to operate that equipment.
The hotel will most likely recommend their “In house AV company” there is one main reason that they do this and here is the behind the scenes secret that you may not be aware of.
In almost ever location across the USA the in house AV company has signed a contract with the hotel to provide services to any client that needs it and in turn the AV company adds around 25% to 40% to your equipment order. This add on is paid directly to the hotel once the fee is collected, you could call it a commission if you like.
So if you decide to use an outside company the next problem is that the venue now realizes that they are not going to get a commission so what they do is they have an area in your contract that you have now signed that demands that an in house AV supervisor be present during your set up and strike. Their reasoning is listed as a way to protect their property from damage by the outside vendor. The actual truth is that the venue still wants to make money wherever they can. So now you get charged $90.00 an hour for a set up and strike supervisor who sits there and watches the set up. They charge you $90.00 an hour and usually pay this person $14.00 an hour.
Another thing to keep in mind, many of the in house AV companies have good reliable people but do not pay them any where near the amount that they collect for this person from you. So their turn over rate is frequent and these men and woman end up starting their own companies or go to work for another outside event company that pays much better.
Also if your event is simple the in house AV company will put someone on your job that is NOT focused on the job at hand and instead is playing with their cell phone or not paying attention to what is happening in the room. This is where all of the mistakes usually happen and things are missed. Having the microphone not be on. having the background music still playing while there is someone trying to speak etc. are usually what happens.