Once you reached an agreement to host your event at a specific venue, your thoughts may turn to deciding on which outfits you are going to choose to provide the necessary support services for your event, including event production.
In many cases, the venue may stipulate that you have to take in-house help. For instance, for many London hotel and conference venues, it is not uncommon for them to require you to use the in-house catering staff for your function. But what about audio visual (AV) services in London and beyond? What are the most common venue practices?
To tell you the truth, there is a mixed bag of arrangements, which we'll now explain to you in a little more detail.
What Constitutes an In-House AV Arrangement?
First and foremost, there is the most traditional setup. In other words, there are staff members on the payroll of the venue whose sole purpose is to provide the AV services you require for your event. In many cases, the AV equipment is owned by the venue and operated by technicians who often have a wide range of roles within their organisation.
Next, you have a so-called "in-house" service that is actually an independent firm which the venue uses exclusively to provide event production support and AV hire services. Sometimes the use of their services is non-negotiable, as if they were part of the venue's core staff. In other instances, you are free to use another AV provider; however, you may be hit by some kind of penalty attached, such as an "alternative arrangement fee."
Other venues may stipulate that you use their in-house services (such as catering) but leave you free to choose whichever London AV hire company you desire, without penalty or infringement. It's totally dependent on your specific venue's policies and agreements.
If you face the prospect of having to use the in-house AV team (whether they are genuinely "in-house" or not), what are the drawbacks? Are there any advantages of doing so? Let's take a look at what the pros and cons are of this approach to hiring event production services for your event.
Pros and Cons of Using the In-House AV Supplier (On-site)
Let's start with the first arrangement described above, whereby the AV solutions offered by the venue are truly in-house, and the equipment is both owned by the venue and operated by employees.
Let us start by saying that it's an undoubted advantage to having every piece of equipment already on-site, so you can immediately get into planning. It also goes without saying that having employees on-site who are already familiar with the venue, it's limitations, and the scope of the available equipment is also beneficial. However, this set up does come with some severe drawbacks.
The aspect you need to scrutinise first as the event planner is the equipment. One of the reasons that some venues can offer in-house AV services at a fraction of the cost of leading London AV hire companies is because what they are offering you isn't even in the same universe when it comes to quality.
In many cases, the sound and lighting equipment provided by some venues can be more than a decade old. We even know of some event venues that still use on-site equipment from the 1990s! Yes, that's last century! While this isn't always the case, if a venue is offering you an in-house price for event production that sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
The second aspect that needs your attention is the staff members charged with running the equipment. Who would you prefer to look after the lighting for your wedding or event? An on-site team that also has to look after all venue electrics, IT requirements, and other general handyman services? Or a senior lighting technician who has both directed and overseen lighting displays for national award shows, large-cap music festivals, and leading London fashion shows?
Would you prefer one staff member who has to take care of everything you need for your event (usually slowly), or would you prefer a team with individual roles assigned to them that work like a well-oiled machine to it all happen? We could go on, but, hopefully, you get the picture.
If saving money is your priority, then you may be tempted to choose a venue with an in-house option, but just be aware that the staff running your production may be doing so in addition to numerous other roles they fulfil. Not only might they not have the extensive knowledge and expertise to make your event a resounding success, but they may also lack that crucial passion for rendering the AV services you are asking of them.
Now we've looked at the pros and cons of using a genuine on-site AV setup for a venue, let's examine what you need to know before using an independent company who act as an in-house AV team for your venue.
Pros and Cons of Using the In-House AV Supplier (Independent AV Hire Company)
Many of the benefits of this type of arrangement are the same of using a genuine in-house team, including but limited to the intimate knowledge of a venue and potentially having equipment already stored on-site to make the planning phase of your event much more straightforward.
Furthermore, you don't have quite as many drawbacks. You get to benefit from knowledgeable staff who run the AV side of event production every working day, for example. While it might be the case that you get access to what the outside AV hire company perceive as some of their "lower standard" equipment (they'll keep their best equipment on hand at their own warehouses), it certainly won't be 25+ years old.
You might be thinking that this is great; you get to benefit from the best of both worlds. To a certain extent, you do, but not without a cost. The reason that a venue ties itself exclusively to an AV provider is that there is something in it for them. This usually presents itself in the form of a hefty commission or a so-called "finder's fee."
What venues won't tell you is that the hefty commission the AV provider is paying back to the venue is charged directly to you. In other words, you are paying an artificially high price to receive the mandated AV company's services. That's why many venues stipulate a penalty for choosing another provider. Otherwise, they miss out on their healthy commission payment.
So while there are several benefits to this setup, you can save a considerable chunk of change by merely approaching another London AV hire company for your event production needs which won't charge you over the odds to pay any commission fees. Now, we've informed you of what you need to be aware of when booking event production services for a venue, let us make the case for choosing us as your partner for AV services in London and right across the UK.
Why You Should Choose On Tour Events for Audio Visual Services in London (And Beyond)
Now we know what you are thinking. On several occasions we've mentioned that we are preferred suppliers for many leading venues across Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, and right across the Midlands and North West too.
You're right, we are. But our arrangement is not that as described above, we do not have any agreements that tie any venue to choosing our services. We do not pay any commission to anyone. Ever. We only work with venues that leave their clients to choose whomever they please. We don't believe it to be good business practice to acquire clients that have been railroaded into choosing us. The only reason we are the "preferred" choice is that we have earned that right by providing exemplary service to both venues and their clients.
Venues recognise that they are taking a huge reputational risk by recommending any AV partner when they are not being paid to do so. We've worked hard over the years to earn that trust, nothing more and nothing less. We always aim to impress, which is something we've thankfully been able to achieve, and we've reaped the benefits of repeat business from those venues and their esteemed clients ever since.
So why is this the case? What sets us apart from other London-based AV hire companies?
Well, first and foremost, we are one of the only all-encompassing technical event production companies in the UK. On Tour Events is an amalgamation of four different companies who've been serving the events industry for over three decades. The result? We can provide anything you require when it comes to AV services and all other aspects of event production services.
Whether you need to hire an outdoor stage capable of meeting the needs of 10,000+ festival fans, or all you require is a projector/screen combo, a wireless microphone, and a couple of speakers for your conference, there's no scale of event to which we can't provide our services.
We mentioned earlier in this piece about paying attention to the quality of equipment. Frankly speaking, our commitment to the equipment we provide is second to none. We only provide state-of-the-art equipment from industry-leading brand names such as d&b audiotechnik, Showtec, Shure, Chauvet, and Midas, to name just a fraction of what we have in stock.
It's not just quality either; it's quantity too. We have three warehouses chocked full of market-leading equipment and boast one of the biggest inventories in just not the UK, but most of Western Europe. Our staff regularly hand-service and clean everything themselves, and we rotate any stock older than three years. It's a policy that has meant we are yet to have a piece of equipment fail on us on-site, and that's not a track record we intend on letting slip.
That's without even mentioning our incredible team. Given what we've just told you, it may come as no surprise to learn that we don't dry hire our equipment. Instead, we trust our fantastic personnel to not only look after our equipment but to get the most out of it for your event.
From mixing sound, to rigging lights and building stages, our crew of engineers and technicians have over a century of experience between them. There's nothing they can't handle. You can entrust them to function like a well-oiled machine as they look after all technical aspects of your event, allowing you to focus your finite energy and resources on other essential aspects of your event.
Choose the Right London AV Hire Company for Your Event
Hopefully, you have learnt what you are getting yourself into when pursuing the in-house AV option for your event. While you can secure some advantages, there is rarely ever a commercial case not to choose a company with experienced personnel and state-of-the-art equipment.
Here at On Tour Events, we will never apologise for not being the cheapest option because what we will never be beaten on is value for money. If this article has taught you anything is that you need to compare apples to apples when choosing your provider of audio visual services in London and beyond. We're proud to say that no other company can match the quality of service we provide for the price.
Better yet, while we aren't locked into any commission-based agreements that railroad clients into choosing us, we are preferred suppliers for many venues. In other words, we give you all the advantages of an independent firm tied to a venue (such as intimate venue knowledge and modern equipment) without having to pay a hefty premium on top. We truly are the best of both worlds!
So if you would like to learn more about how we can supply AV and event production services to your event's venue, don't hesitate to get in contact with our friendly On Tour Events team using the information below. We can't wait to hear what you have planned!
On Tour Events: Technical Audio Visual Event Services London OFFICE & WAREHOUSE: +PHONE: 020 8058 0093 +MONDAY - FRIDAY 08:00 - 20:00 +EMAIL: INFO@ONTOUREVENTS.CO.UK +POST: Office 108 Belgrove House Belgrove Street, London, WC1H8AA +FACEBOOK.COM/EVENTPRODUCTIONHIRE +TWITTER.COM/ONTOUREVENTS +INSTAGRAM.COM/ONTOUREVENTS +Google My Busniuess Page & Reviews https://www.google.com/maps?cid=11919891004926379003