Are 3rd Party AV Companies Better For My Event? | AV For Hotels

So you’re looking for 3rd party AV companies as in-house AV competitors for the hotel you’re planning an event in? Perhaps you’re frustrated with inadequate service, or you’re looking for competitive offers on your event’s pricing because you don’t feel like the numbers look right? 

In-house AV for hotels can be a minefield of fees and complications. 

Below we outline the challenges with in-house AV companies and why 3rd party AV companies are often a better call for your next event.

How Does In-House AV for hotels work? 

So you have an amazing event with incredible content and an engaged audience, congrats! Unfortunately, this can be quickly derailed by the AV for hotels process and the ludicrous pricing you may face. 

Well how does that work?

So typically, when an AV company signs an exclusivity contract with a hotel, the hotel will get AV installations & support in their spaces from the AV company. In return, the AV company becomes the in-house AV company for any event business that comes to the hotel. There are also usually commission structures in place incentivizing the parties to work together. 

It is mutually beneficial for the AV company and the hotel, however, it’s not often beneficial for you! 

This agreement to pass any event business directly to the in-house AV company, can be enforced by the hotel using 3rd party penalty fees they charge you. They can also hike up the pricing of other line items if you don’t use the in-house AV company, such as wi-fi connectivity. 

In essence, this means in some cases you are financially obligated to choose the in-house AV company – if not contractually. 

How Does Choosing In-House AV Affect My Event? 

Well for starters, this can often mean they will charge you ridiculous amounts of money. You have no negotiating power as they are your only option for AV…not good. 

So you received your quote and it’s 30% higher than you expected?…Yikes.

This cost increase means you could have to cut out the fun elements you were hoping to include for your guests. You have to downgrade the overall quality of your audience’s experience because you are being forced into using this in-house AV vendor. 

*Right here is when most people start searching for outside 3rd party AV companies and in-house AV competitors. Well lucky for you, when it comes to in-house AV competitors, you need look no further than SPL. 

Beyond just the pricing you face, you also need to consider how they see you as a client. You are a guaranteed piece of business for them. They did not earn your trust, business, or relationship. They are contractually entitled to your business, and the service you receive reflects this. 

Simply put, you will be treated far worse and charged far more for a far lower quality event. 

Business man debating whether he should go with 3rd party AV company or the in-house AV company for his event.

Okay, Well What Is The Solution To AV For Hotels Then? 

In short – 3rd party AV companies. They win your business through their expertise, hard work, and creative vision. They earn every client they receive and are honored when you choose to partner with them. This, for starters, already makes them a far better option as an AV partner but there is so much more to it. 

Firstly, as we know this is a huge point, you can save a ton of money.

No matter when you bring a 3rd party AV company into the fold, they immediately bring a tremendous ROI to the table as they ultimately have no stake in the hotel’s deal. This allows them to be more cost effective and more driven to maintain your business through high quality service. 

Beyond that, if you bring in a company like us at SPL early enough in your project timeline, like before even approaching the hotel, you can save even more. The reason being, we can then advise you on how best to maximize your AV footprint within the hotel without maxing out your budget. 

A good 3rd party AV company will take a holistic view of your goals, needs, and wants, and help to provide the actual best possible AV solutions for you and your event. This means no unnecessary equipment or labor – ever. They should provide just what you need for the optimal experience possible, simple as that.

Secondly, along with our advising on what gear to use, and how to use it, a 3rd party AV company will advise in many other capacities an in-house AV company will not.

For starters, they can greatly bolster your negotiating position with the hotel. In many cases, SPL can get hotels to wave fees completely through our collective knowledge of how they operate and what you do/don’t need to pay for. 

Many times, if a company hosting an event doesn’t know enough about AV for hotels and what the technology actually does, they can end up paying for a ton of excess labor, equipment, or services. A 3rd party AV company can help you to understand exactly what each itemized item means and how you can save on it. 

Thirdly, (this one is specific to us at SPL) we provide media creation services.

Yup! You read that correctly, we aren’t just an AV provider. 

At SPL we have a talented team of creative professionals who specialize in creating things like motion graphics title cards, logo animations, voice overs, and even corporate storytelling videos. 

We found that many of our clients were excited about the prospect of an 80’ LED video wall for their event but they were intimidated by the content creation aspect of it. In fact, many of their creative agencies were incapable of providing the content needed for the LED wall and lacked the expertise on how to output the files properly for show running software. 

So we said, “well how about we just create it for you?”…Thus SPL’s media department was born!

This is a huge differentiating factor for many of our clients as they save on creative agency fees as well as AV production fees. They also can rest assured that their content is scaled precisely and plays smoothly. 

You may find other companies that can supply an LED wall but none of them will make its content look as bold or engaging.

Lastly, but easily as important as any other, is the impeccable service and consistency you receive.

A big selling point often not discussed when debating between a 3rd party AV company and the in-house AV company is consistency. If you have a multi-city event series, for example, you want to have a consistent AV partner who knows your company and your needs back to front. They know how your CEO likes to be lit and what your brand colors are for the room lighting. 

In regards to service, you are naturally going to get better service from someone who isn’t entitled to your business. They are going to care more about your event, about the final product, and ultimately about you. 

When it comes to service, though we cannot speak for our competitors, there is a reason SPL is a preferred option when people search for 3rd party AV companies. We are a globally trusted partner for events and installations for a reason. We provide service, transparency, and consistency that is a cut above anyone else in the market. 

With clients like NIKE, Google, Spotify, Molson Coors, and many more, there is one consistent compliment we receive: “your service is amazing.” We treat all of our client relationships as we would treat our dearest and oldest friends and our client retention of over 95% proves it.

In Conclusion…

Whether you are planning a multi-city corporate event, a gala for a few hundred, (or even your wedding!) we implore you to explore 3rd party AV companies before just assuming you have to go with the in-house company. 

Please – even if you don’t work with us at SPL, do your research and dig deeper on exactly what your options are when you are working within a hotel. 

We firmly stand by making the show as good as it can be and unfortunately, sometimes the in-house AV companies lose sight of that. We have heard so many horror stories of friends and associates who have engaged with AV for hotels and we hope the landscape will change for the better. The more educated we all can be about our industry, the more elevated all of our experiences will become. 

Grow. Build. Tell. With SPL.

Your 3rd Party AV Company: SPL

Consistent, transparent, creative, and hard working. You will not find a better partner for your events.

Turn Key & Completely Customizable

Infinitely customizable and flexible to your needs. SPL creates custom AV footprints from big and bold to clean and understated. We can deliver to any room size and audience you need. 

Consistency & Transparency: How SPL Does Business

Unfailingly honest and forthcoming, we are working hard to promote a healthy business culture within the AV ecosystem. Whether it be AV for hotels, stadiums, schools, or your conference room, we work diligently to promote a healthy business atmosphere. 


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