With so much to consider and confirm for your event — date, venue, theme, catering, marketing — it’s understandable that audiovisual (AV) services can become a second thought. The reality is sound, lighting, projection, and video services can make or break an event. Your guests’ experience is elevated when they can see and hear your programming clearly. Here are five reasons to include event AV services in your planning discussions from the beginning.
If you haven’t hosted a large event before — and especially if you are planning your first hybrid event — you might underestimate event AV service costs. By planning for AV well before your event, you’re giving yourself enough time to contact multiple AV production companies to discuss your event and obtain estimates. Once you have an idea of the budget you’ll need for AV services, you can make adjustments to your overall event budget if necessary. You’ll also be giving your leadership team adequate time to review and approve that budget. If you underestimate event AV service pricing and your budget is set, the number of AV providers who will quote your event for the amount budgeted may be limited. An appropriate budget gives you more options.
You can also save money by involving your AV company early. During your event walkthrough your AV planner and director can answer your technical questions and offer solutions, often reducing your need to hire external technical event producers.
There is a seasonality to event scheduling. Dates in spring and fall book quickly. Live event production companies receive multiple requests for the weekends — and often weekdays, too — from February through May and again from September through December. Event planners often book event AV services a year in advance. Securing your AV provider as soon as you select your date and venue is a smart idea.
You’ll probably work with many partners to execute your event, including event planners, the manager at your venue, fundraising experts, benefit auctioneers, caterers, and photographers. These vendors and experts often have their own preferred audiovisual providers. Your early audiovisual planning supports these existing partnerships. (Remember Reasons #1 and #2? It comes back to Availability and Budget again.)
Live event production involves far more than just lights and speakers. It’s actually a very creative field. Professional audiovisual design enhances and supports the theme of your event, setting the mood and creating the desired atmosphere for your guests. Early audiovisual planning allows your AV company time to join you during venue walk-throughs and offer input and problem-solving solutions.
5. Effective Set-up
Your AV provider should have technical planners on staff to advise you. These problem-solving experts are already familiar with the quirks of various event venues. For example, you may want the stage and the screen in a specific location, but that layout may be hindered by doorways that need to remain accessible. Or maybe that sun-filled atrium was beautiful during your daytime tour, but is too dark at night when your event will be held. Your AV technical planner will be able to troubleshoot a wide range of issues. Early audiovisual planning gives you and the technical planner time to discuss your event and work with your venue and caterer to ensure your event will be executed as you envision it.
Even if you have hosted your event for years, you should still discuss your plans with your AV company early. If you are changing venues, you may need different or additional AV equipment because the set-up that works in one venue may need to be customized for another location.
It’s Never Too Early
Don’t ever think that you are calling your AV company too far in advance of your event. Your event production team wants your event to be a success and they will appreciate the extra time to learn about your event and offer input. With strategic, thoughtful, and effective event AV services, your guests will have a great experience. That results in greater outcomes for your event.
Originally published January 2020. Updated March 2022.