Event planners constantly ask whose event solutions they should buy, but the first question they should be asking themselves, is what value they’re looking to get from their AV provider.
While it’s tempting to select partners who can deliver their services for the least amount of money, most events are far too complex for commodity buying. Rather, the key to getting real value is looking for partners who bring thoughtful solutions to the table, and can help make strategic decisions with event budgets.
While the best approach is always to hire a partner with strengths that align with your key priorities, which may be price, there are a number of other key factors—like presenter and audience experiences—which shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re shopping for a comprehensive solution provider.
Your ideal partner might not always be the cheapest option, but they’ll be a great investment to consider because they generally offer an integrated team that can act as a force multiplier for your event goals and objectives.
Here are a few other key factors to take into consideration when deciding which provider is right for your next event:
Jack of All Trades vs. Specialists
A solutions partner is specialized in their service offerings, but has a plethora of close working relationships with other experts in the field so they can help match client needs with the right technical solutions and engineers. On the flip side, commodity-focused partners will often try to own every piece of the business—even if it’s not a part of their core service offerings—so that they can monetize more of the event budget and prevent erosion. If it’s all about price, then there will always be a cheaper option around the corner, and a commodity provider can’t risk introducing that to you.
Rent vs. Invent
Commodity providers tend to rely on the quantity of their rental equipment inventories versus the application of their technology. Because commodity providers often have business models that are focused on rental fees, they typically invest more heavily in equipment, which offers clients a one-size-fits-all approach for their events. A solutions partner is constantly investing in new technology, techniques and approaches that ensure they can offer clients a differentiated experience that solves their unique needs.
Return on Investment vs. Return on Ideas
Commodity providers are typically focused on the individual return of each team member toward the bottom line. A solutions partner approaches ROI differently, instead looking at assembling great people and giving them the facilities and technology they need to think bigger, ensuring a higher degree of consultation and “return on ideas” that help drive successful event experiences for their clients.
In this business, you always have the opportunity to top what’s been done before. By making room for innovative thinking—and taking time to explore new ideas with a future-focused partner—you have an opportunity to drive more success than if you only focus on keeping costs down. And with ever-changing technological innovation, the best partner will know how to pair the right technology solutions with your event budget, delivering more than you might have originally imagined possible.
Byline by Gerry Small, Chief Operating Officer at AV Concepts. Gerry has more than 30 years of experience in the large-scale corporate event and association meetings markets. You can read Gerry’s other bylines on MeetingsNet.