At O’Design Productions and Consulting we are “Meeting Planners For AV” where we work directly with our Meeting Planner clients taking the AV work off their plates. Part of our work is supporting them at every level including the venue contract stage.
Many times at this stage we are asked, “Why should I be thinking about AV before I sign a venue contract?”
The simple answer: HIDDEN FEES. And in our experience, there’s whole lot of ‘em. They come in different shapes and sizes and hide around every known, and unknown, corner. They change from venue to venue and are given new, updated terms or descriptions to make their detection harder and harder to recognize.
Nobody likes hidden fees, but most continue to get hit with them. The result? Thousands of dollars of hidden fees are paid out while bringing no added value to an event.
Our team is extremely good at finding, reducing and many times eliminating hidden fees. It’s just one of the many values we offer our clients when we do the AV work for them.
Below are just a few of the top hidden fee’s as well as some verbiage to add to every venue contract:
- Rigging: regardless if rigging is needed or not, ask to see the rigging price sheet – they should be standard for everyone. Make sure you understand all costs involved and ensure they are clearly listed in your contract.
- Power/Electricity for Breakout Rooms: use of permanent building outlets/power should be included in your meeting space, period. Unfortunately, venues are starting to charge for any plug-in to these outlets. Ensure power used from permanent outlets is included and listed in your contract.
- Power/Electricity for General Session: most General Sessions need additional power beyond room outlets. Always request venue power price sheets, even if the in-house AV company “provides complimentary power” if you use them as your AV vendor. Study the rates to ensure they are fair and request all rates are added to your contract.
- Sound Patch Fees are a standard charge by the venue unless otherwise stated in the contract. Ask to have these costs listed or even removed from the contract.
- Supervisor or Liaison fees have become standard practice, however, the venue does not have the right to require you to pay for this person unless it is stated in the contract. Have any liaison fees removed from your contract.
- Commissions are becoming a standard practice by venues across the country. The venue receives a commission from the in-house provider based on your total AV bill, this is an additional cost to you. Disguised as “Service Fee” or “Technology Support Charge” these charges can be waived or at least lowered if questioned. Remember, these are unwarranted and uncalled for charges – and have many different names or terms.
- Guidelines and Policies: always, always, request venue and/or in-house AV guidelines and policies before signing a contract. Many contracts state you must follow venue guidelines and policies which seem simple in nature. Unfortunately, this is where most hidden charges live. Every in-house provider has them. All approved guidelines should be listed in your contract. This one step will save you thousands alone.
Remember, nearly all terms in your contracts are negotiable and can be tailored to your specific needs. Also, all contracts should be carefully reviewed to identify any clauses that may limit your opportunity to use any AV or other vendor of your choice. Remember, you should have the freedom to choose any vendor that best suites you, your clients and your event without penalty.
The following clause is just a sample of what you will want to use in every contract to ensure you are covered:
(name of business/group) shall not be obligated to pay any charge or expense incurred in any way by the hotel or any other party. And no penalties, fees, or interest may be assessed against (group) unless otherwise expressly listed and agreed in this or any agreement. Group may use its own vendors for services that are not exclusive to Hotel, provided that (Group) proposed vendors meet insurance and indemnification requirements.
As the foundation of your event, your venue contract has the ability to either provide the freedoms needed or greatly hurt your bottom line. With hidden fees removed, you instantly save your client thousands of dollars that can be used to help the bottom line or used to provide new opportunities for greater event impact.
Ready to bring on a partner to help you with all your AV needs? Give us a call at 303-877-9275 – we take on all the work and bring you far more value to each and every event – at or below your event budget.