03 Jan Should i use hotel AV equipment?
You may ask why would I need to use an external AV (audio visual) provider for equipment when the hotel venue has AV equipment installed.
Hotels and conference venues normally have built-in projector screens, and some form of audio system. If you just require a microphone and a laptop for presentations, this will tend to be satisfactory for the job.
But we highly recommend looking at the installed hotel and venue AV equipment more closely and ask some smart questions.
AV conference equipment is generally not a hotels or conference venues prime focus. Hotels are in the hospitality and food business. AV equipment and support tends to end up being a bolt on as it is always required.
From time to time we frequently observe how hotel conference AV equipment can be poorly maintained and inefficient for the job. For example, projectors can have insufficient brightness, possibly because they are not well maintained or just because they are not fit for purpose.
Audio systems at hotels may have poor performing microphones that lead to poor quality audio, and feedback. This is often because they have very basic audio systems installed which are designed for a single microphone to address a dinner or conference.
This is simply down to either poor expertise on the hotel purchasers part or the hotel venue purchasing budget equipment that will “do the job”.
It is worth asking what technical support is available and how readily available it is. Can the hotel or venue provide a dedicated technician? This can be important even for smaller conferences. It is common for a presenter to need some support. Examples of support could include adding a video into a presentation, fixing a laptop that is not showing up on the screen or adjusting microphones that are not loud enough, to name a few.
Why choose an external AV supplier?
Quite often, your AV requirements may exceed what the venue is equipped with. You may have a need for multiple radio microphones for presenters. You may need a laptop to be controlled by a dedicated person to look after the presentations and videos. You may require additional screens at the rear of the room if there are lots of delegates. Or perhaps a stage (that does not squeak!) and backdrop.
By choosing an external audio visual supplier you are always offered a dedicated technician that can offer immediate service and support which is not available from a hotel. It’s often not just about the equipment.
We always advise clients to have a sound technician if you have more than 3 microphones
When you are choosing external AV companies, you can be assured they will use equipment that is up to date, in good working order, well tested and maintained at all times. You will also know that the company providing the equipment will know to operate and maintain it.
AV companies will always be able to assess the suitability of the in-house AV equipment and advise the most suitable setup for the room and delegates. Quite often you will be able to utilise parts of the installed hotel equipment and supplement this with equipment that the AV company can bring in.
Most importantly you may well have a relationship with an AV provider. This can be the key to reliable AV and peace of mind at your event.
It is also important to note that there are many hotels and large conference venues, especially in London that have very well maintained AV equipment to a high level, and often have links to an external or prefered suppliers for immediate response and support.
But do ask the right questions and make a site visit to check what you will need to ensure the success of your event.