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Every meeting planner knows that even the most dynamic, impactful and talked-about meetings in a planner’s career can hardly be considered successes if they went massively over budget. Since A/V plays such a large role, planners should seek to work closely with their A/V supplier to make sure a rational technology budget is in place.

NJM+E: When it comes to event planning, what are some of the best practices for optimizing your technology budget?
AT: No. 1, involve the A/V technology suppliers as early as possible. Proactively bring the A/V vendor(s) into the initial discussions, because their involvement while developing the meeting’s business goals and objectives will allow the planners to match the event’s objectives with the technology requirements. No. 2 is budget for value, not costs. The value equation in the event A/V profession is service + price = value. Simply seeking the lowest pricing can end up in disaster if the service is defi- cient (i.e. audio isn’t clear, equipment issues not fixed rapidly, etc.).

NJM+E: How can a planner make sure the A/V vendor doesn’t overcharge?
AT: By leaving out the assumptions and “facts unknown” in a meeting plan. The more facts and details acquired by the planner (and shared with the A/V vendors) the easier it will be for them to fine-tune the estimate by avoiding caveats (when possible) and developing the best possible set of costs.

NJM+E: Can meeting and event pros still effectively negotiate on budget with A/V vendors when they’re so closely involved in the planning process?
AT: Yes, absolutely, however it’s important to pick the right TIME to negotiate, which is AFTER you’ve developed a compre- hensive list of the needed equipment and personnel. Once completed, planners can then request quotes from multiple A/V vendors, then compare them against each other ... and negotiate discounts on equip- ment. The better quality A/V vendors are going to be competitive, and they want to win your business.

Andrew Taffin is co-founder and CEO of Iselin-based Tallen Technology Rentals. A regular speaker at industry conferences, he is also a founding member and former president of the International Technology Rental Association (ITRA). 

When people talk about the picturesque skyland region of New Jersey, it represents the Northwest areas of the state and includes the counties of Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex. The region has two national parks at its edges and a diverse and beautiful geography filled with lakes, rivers and hills dotted with farms.

 

Awards do not come easily in the restaurant business. Michelin, AAA and Forbes tell us who the best is (and Wine Spectator when it comes to vino), and there are only a select few of local establishments that make the esteemed cut. The Bernards Inn is in rare company, as it is the only restaurant in New Jersey that has made the Forbes list of the top restaurants in the United States. AAA counts just 11 restaurants in its Four-Diamond rating in our state. While you may hear that trophies are handed out just for showing up, it’s clearly not the case when it comes to dining.

 

What generation will make up 75 percent of the workforce in 2025? If you guessed millennials, you’d be right! According to an article titled "How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America" by Morley Winograd and Dr. Michael Hais, by 2020, millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans, and by 2025 they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce. What does that mean for corporate planners? They will have to evolve the way they plan corporate events from boomers and Gen X’ers to millennials or face having an event that will become a social disaster!