Seriously? Are we rigging PINK to fly in to greet participants?

This rant, unfortunately, takes aim at AV services.  And while I am going to come at this with shock and frustration, I am also going to plead with you, end user/client, to pick quotes apart with a fine tooth comb. But I also need to plead with AV companies servicing the meetings industry, to please, PLEASE, demonstrate your commitment to the industry.

So, let me back up.  This time, I am working in partnership with another firm to produce an event for one of their clients, who is holding their annual event in Toronto.  They are a national association, and their event rotates across Canada.  Annually, they hope to see anywhere from 400-600 people (depending on location).

This event will have all sessions and special events under one roof (except for one social event which is offsite, and the AV company has nothing to do with).

They want straight forward services – screens, podiums, mics, maybe a tad bit of lighting to make it interesting, but that is about it.

So, when I see the quote they received from the AV company prior to our involvement to produce this for them – I was literally speechless (which you all know is rare for me!).  Ready? Here it is:

OVER $250K for 3 days of the major conference + 2 Days of small board & committee meetings. UGH.

But wait…. they are here to help!

THEY WERE gracious enough <hope you can see my sarcasm here> to offer about $165K off between discounts and concessions, bringing the grand total of the quote down to around $85K.

In comparison, I am spending about $55K elsewhere, for WAY more WOW FACTOR in AV in the same month.

My head exploded.  Serious, are we rigging PINK to fly in and greet participants here or what?

OK, so my whining about this is over.  So, what now?

First, to the AV companies, what is your service worth? DO NOT QUOTE $250K if you are really valuing it at $85K (it doesn’t impress anyone). And even then, I question whether it is worth $85K (trust me, it’s not, and this will be questioned and brought back down to earth).

Second, I got my hands on this quote by accident, the client brought us in last minute to work on this event because of unforeseen circumstances.  And, quite frankly, based on what I have seen, they would have paid this fee if they had not brought in a professional.

Finally, if you are an organization who plans annual conferences, have either an experienced planner on staff who know what they are looking at and works with a budget (from creation to reconciliation). If you do not have that in house, then you should hire a professional who has your back.

Bettyanne’s Rant: Why Pick On the Little Guys?

Well, it did not take too long to post my first rant.

I have a client – a delightful client – who has asked me to help produce a workshop series to introduce some incredibly important content to the healthcare sector. While I cannot name their organization specifically – trust me – not only is this content near and dear to my heart, it is SO important to the welfare of many of our citizens in Ontario – and Canada.

We have rounded out months of ongoing work with a key event coming soon; and as expected, I am in the midst of reviewing both BEOs and AV estimates from the hotel of choice. And I am astounded.

I do not require a ton of AV for this event (not like some of the other conferences and events that I do) – it is about the content; a screen, podium and small sound system is all I need. So when I see an estimate that is 3 times more than I have paid for the exact same equipment elsewhere, of course – I question it. The only difference is this hotel is in the GTA and not a smaller city in the province. While I understand supply and demand (yes, of course prices are higher in Toronto), but 3x more? Again, I had to question it. Unfortunately the responses I received offered no solutions, just justification. I was “schooled” on why it is SO pricey (the equipment has to be set up, it’s not a permanent installation), and that I also have to pay a gratuity on top of that (which I was advised is an industry standard)…SERIOUSLY?!

Is this client huge revenue for them? NO. Do they have repeat business? Not likely – at least not in the foreseeable future.

So, there are two things that bother me here. If the value of this event was bigger, I could negotiate show rates vs day rates on rentals and look to other ways to reduce these costs – but we are just the little guy here. It was already a struggle to get space when our bedroom to meeting space ratio was way off.

Second, we know that AV companies pay a large premium back to the hotel for the privilege of being their in-house AV supplier. So why is my client being asked to also support the financial arrangement by paying out an additional 18% service charge? I have no problem paying a fair price for quality goods and services. I’m just not seeing the value here.

In this new reality of amalgamation – the little guy is losing…