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Producing hundreds of major staged events here at Hometown for the past 10 years, we have seen the same key issues coming up time and time again. These common mistakes can easily be avoided by communication and accurate planning. Here are some examples we have noticed:
1. Assuming that power is always included.
In many conference venues / hotels, there is a separate charge for power usage. We always add that in our quotation send to you because depending on your venue, the definition of power can be fairly different. To some venues this may apply to only large power requests where an engineer is required to come and deliver large circuit breaker boxes designed to accommodate the power load (either from the lighting or sound equipment). For most venues, this can literally mean plugging anything into the wall. As a precaution find out not only how much your venue charges for power but also how they define it.
2. Ordering 16:9 widescreen screens, then designing all your content to be 4:3
This will definitely rank as the number one mistake made when it comes to presentations. This will be the cause of the black bar letter-boxing on the top and bottom or to the left and right of the slides when displayed in the wrong format. Make sure to communicate to your AV supplier to be clear what size screens they have and whether they are widescreen or four by three. Then the golden rule will be to make sure whomever is even remotely going to touch your PowerPoint presentations, knows which format your using and how to format their presentations accordingly.
3. Not accounting for rigging points charges.
Rigging points are those places on the ceiling where it is okay to hang things from. Even if you are remotely thinking about hanging lighting, sound or projectors from the ceiling, find out if your venue charge for any rigging points before your sign your agreement. A great tip to follow, will be to contact your AV company when meeting with the venue manager to see if it will be necessary for any rigging at all.
4. Not getting alternatives bids to the In-House AV.
Working with In-House AV companies can be great. They know the space, are very convenient and can get any last minute gear needed since they keep an inventory on-site. Besides those facts, it’s still a good idea to get a quotation from an outside vendor before signing a contact. This way you have something to compare and a negotiating tool. Just make sure there is no penalties/fees for using an outside vendor over the In-House.
5. Skimping on the audio setup.
Audio is surely one of the most underrated levels of quality at an event. Issues here can have an effect on your audience at a subconscious level. This is why you should make sure your entire audience is covered by the speakers (including the center of the room, sides and back). Just remember that nobody notices perfect audio, everyone notices bad audio.
6. Not reserving the venue for enough time to account for load-in and setup.
Do you know the phrase “gotcha”? Well this can be the most expensive “gotchas” out there. With booking your venue, take in account the time before and after your program for setup and brake-down. We have seen how planners must pay the crew overtime for working through the night due to a limited amount of time before the event starts. This is all because they didn’t book the venue with enough time to spare.
Now that we have brought these matters to your attention, you can see our commitment to assist you in the best way possible. That is why our goal in business is, living in agreement with you!