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). 

Just Jersey is just, well, Jersey. As it sounds, this store features the finest handcrafted products from all around the state. Originally, Tina Bologna created Just Jersey as a school fundraising concept, and the idea flourished. In 2014, co-owners Tina Bologna and Paul Miller opened a pop-up shop with 35 vendors, and the store concept took flight. Now, as of their anniversary on Jan. 21, there are about 200 vendors from all over the state represented. 

 

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