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…

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