Hotel supplied AV is a major No-No
With tighter budgets being the new norm, conference organisers today are often tasked with seeking out lower cost alternatives or even to avoid certain budget items from the conference planning process altogether.
When this happens; it can be so tempting to think of using in-house, hotel-supplied AV equipment. After all, it’s just a projector or two, and a bunch of clip on microphones, right? Surely, nothing could go wrong with those…?
Don’t ever make the mistake of believing that in-house audio-video is the route to follow in preference to hiring the services of professional AV company. It will only take you along a sure fire route to conference failure. Here’s why…
Hotels aren’t really in the conferencing business. They really are in the venue, accommodation and food business; but that’s not the same thing as being a true conferencing supplier. Most hotels, or even meeting facility venues, in truth only offer AV services as an ‘add-on’; like they did (and continue to do in desperation) with the landline telephone next to the bedside table that no-one now wants...
I’m also reminded that hotels get it wrong so often… even when they aren’t trying to extract additional revenues... and just want to be seen as offering valuable additional ‘services’.
Like the ‘time-distracting’ free shoe-shine machine you often see parked next to hotel elevators. You know the ones; you’ve even stood there and used them whilst you’ve waited for an elevator to descend from the 15th floor. They just don’t work well; and you know it. Reminding yourself, as you did whilst last using one for the umpteenth time, that you even knew this from the previous time you’d stood and waited for the damned elevator.
There’s even a new price gouging scam in hotels that relates to the provision of Wi-Fi services for both guests and conferencing delegates alike, which is currently causing as much anguish, if not more, than the great bedside phone rip-off ever did – but that’s the subject of another article on another day!
Let’s get back to the in-house audio-video issue. I find, on average, that hoteliers install woefully inadequate technology levels by purchasing low cost projectors with insufficient lumens for large group projection as well as the cheapest forms of microphones that they can find.
Invariably all this equipment tends to be outdated and has been constantly abused by people who have had no idea how to use it, store it or protect it for years on end.
As to having someone dedicated on-hand who is meant to assist and help set-up the in-house technology for your conference or meeting; it’s invariably going to be a lower level employee who is actually on the pay-roll under a totally different job description and generally wouldn’t know a lumen from a lamp post.
The real meat of any successful conference or meeting day is in the audience enjoying the (hopefully) professional polished delivery of the presenters’ content. The message really needs to be seen; and heard properly.
Professional speakers, like myself, come to learn very quickly that the presence of a (usually) black T-shirted professional AV technician in the back corner of the room responsible for installing, driving and supervising the proper sound and lighting for the day is absolutely essential in terms of supporting their own performance. If we rate them so highly, it’s a good reason to remember that for any presenters you might have who perhaps aren’t so competent, they are even more necessary.
Professional AV suppliers who specialise in providing high quality modern, up to date and relevant audio and visual equipment are there to deliver you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your event can run without any glitches. Never ever cut them out of your budget.
To be fair, and balanced, there are some (normally larger, global hotel brands) who do make an effort on AV services. In my experience however these are far from the norm and usually (think 9.9 times out of 10) it simply isn't the case.