Taming the High Cost of AV Production at Hotels

Not long ago, hotels required clients to use in-house AV or pay a penalty for bringing in outside production companies.  As more and more meeting planners began striking the controversial AV clause from their contracts, hotels scrambled to make up for lost revenue opportunities, and keep their preferred vendor partners happy and whole.

With increased competition for corporate events, it’s no surprise that hotels are unwilling to risk alienating clients with new talk of vendor controls or penalties.  Instead, hotels have shifted the onus onto outside production companies.  We see this in the form of increased insurance requirements, lengthy production guidelines chock full of legalese, and mounting fees and surcharges for use of hotel infrastructure, equipment and personnel – all of which get passed onto the client in the end.  The result is the same:  clients must pay to bring in their own production company.  The difference is the penalties are hidden and therefore rarely budgeted for – and come at a time when meeting planners remain challenged by cost containment initiatives.

Ask Before You Sign:  Negotiating Win-win Concessions

To mitigate cost increases and help level the playing field between in-house and outside production companies, Impact Productions works with clients to negotiate concessions at point of contract.  We focus on items that cost the hotel little if anything, but can result in big savings for the client.  Exactly what and how much to ask for depends on the size and scope of your meeting, your specific production needs, and the various hotel vendor partners involved.  What follows is a list of just some of the production expenditures we’ve been successful negotiating at “no charge” or at a discounted rate on behalf of our clients:

  1. Hotel Staging (yes, hotels are starting to charge for in-house riser inventory)
  2. Electrical Charges
  3. Rigging Points
  4. House Scissor Lifts
  5. Lighting Truss (many hotels now require you to rent truss from the authorized rigging company at a premium price)
  6. House Lighting Remote
  7. Poly-Tak Flooring
  8. Ballroom WiFi
  9. Ballroom Security
  10. Self-Parking and/or Valet Parking Passes for local crews

Before you sign your next hotel contract, keep these concession ideas in mind, or bring your production company to the negotiating table.  It never hurts to ask, and you may be surprised at what you can get.