Technology is a vital part of any event. For conferences and other high profile events, most attendees will expect to see some kind of AV technology in play. From video presentations to interval music and even interactive social media walls, this type of technology can help to increase sponsorship, drive engagement and encourage people to return year after year.
So you may be wondering, so I really need to hire an AV project manager for my event or an event management agency? Audiovisual services are often provided either on a rental-only basis or you can choose to hire a project manager to take care of everything. Budget restraints might mean that you decide to go down the rental-only basis. However, if you aren’t confident you can manage it, it may be better to invest in a project manager. Here are the main things you need to consider before hiring an AV project manager.
How reliant are you on AV technology?
If your event simply cannot go ahead without the AV technology, then you need to hire an AV project manager. It’s that simple. If something goes wrong, are you confident that you and your team can fix it? If the answer is no, then you need a project manager. This will also give you added reassurance that someone will take responsibility if something goes wrong.
Do you have the expertise in-house?
When choosing between a project manager and hire-only arrangement, you first need to establish if you already have the skills you need in-house. It isn’t enough to have a person on your team who knows how to turn things off and on. Will this person be available throughout the event? Ideally, you want one person dedicated to each soundboard.
If you have speakers in multiple rooms, how will one person cope if both of their projectors fail at the same time? In many cases, getting an external company to manage the AV side of things can take the stress off your shoulders.
Can you afford it?
Don’t assume you can’t afford it until you have received quotes from multiple suppliers. Many AV rental companies will include a tech manager for just a little bit more, simply because this guarantees that they will have someone on-site taking care of their equipment. You might actually be paying a premium for a hire-only arrangement.
An alternative way to think about staffing your event with an AV project manager is to source a temporary contract worker or a staffing agency. Event recruitment agencies like Live Recruitment will be able to put you in touch with freelancers and contract workers who only deal with AV project management. Having this kind of knowledge and expertise on your team can be hugely beneficial.
Is the stress worth it?
Ask any project manager or an event planner and they will tell you that AV management is often the most stressful part of the whole industry. Things can work perfectly fine throughout rehearsals or test runs and then simply stop working when you need them. AV technology can be difficult to manage, even for experts.
In many ways, hiring someone to manage your AV technology can be worthwhile simply because it takes some of the stress of your shoulders. Delegating tasks in this way is one of the essential skills that you need to learn as an event manager. You might hate allocating money in your budget to something that seems so easy to do, but you’ll appreciate the peace of mind you get from having someone else manage everything.
Will your insurance cover it?
When hiring equipment for an event, you need to check if your event insurance will cover equipment that doesn’t belong to you. If it doesn’t, it could be risky to go ahead with the hire as you could be liable for a lot of expensive equipment if something goes wrong. AV equipment isn’t cheap and can be easily destroyed by something as innocuous as a spilt drink.
By hiring a company to manage all aspects of the AV, it is their business insurance that will take the hit if anything goes wrong. They will also know what is best practice in terms of minimising damage to their equipment and preventing injury.
Choosing between running your own AV or hiring an event management agency to manage this might seem complicated, but it’s an important decision that you need to make in order to ensure your event runs smoothly.