Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 10 2015

Ask the AV Professional

Derek Suminski, GMC Communications Committee
– My attendance numbers fluctuate depending on the geographic location of the meeting. Restrictions on some government travel have tamped down registration, too. Revenue is down; costs are flat. Any suggestions from an AV standpoint?

– Our industry is trending up and meetings are getting healthier, but if your organization is experiencing shrinking meeting budgets and smaller than expected attendance numbers, you’re not alone.

Many associations, representing many industries and disciplines, have had to make some sort of adjustment in their meeting programs since business travel took a hit during the 2009 recession. The following are some ideas which might help:

Ground-Based Lighting and Audio: Depending on the scale of your general or plenary sessions, rigging costs can be in the thousands of dollars. While lighting truss and speaker clusters provide a clean look and unobstructed sight lines, ground-based lighting and audio towers offer a cheaper option without sacrificing performance.

Studio Camera Placement: Half of the cost of a camera for Image Magnification and/or recording can be in the lensing. Simply stated, the further the camera has to be away from the stage, the larger and more expensive the lens will be. The advantage of this setup is that the camera is at the back of the room. However, if the seating plan is flexible and a camera and riser placed in the center aisle 70’ or less from the stage is not a problem for you, a standard and more cost-effective camera lens can be used.

Wireless vs. Wired Microphones: There is nothing like the ease of a wireless lavaliere or handheld microphone for presenters and participants in the audience. However, there is a cost for the wireless technology that does not transfer to more basic wired microphones. While the audio quality is the same, wired microphones offer less flexibility, but also offer a much lower rental cost.

Stage / Scenic Set: The more basic the stage and design components are, the lower the cost will be. An elegant or exciting look can be accomplished with simple lighting and gobos.

24-hour Holds/Space Maximization: While there might be an upfront cost for a 24-hour hold on your meeting space, you might save money in the long run by cutting down on the additional labor and overtime costs associated with striking and resetting your meeting rooms – from both AV and food and beverage standpoints. Similarly, consider moving an offsite meeting or reception back into your main meeting space to help cut down on additional AV, transportation, and catering costs.

About the Author
Derek Suminski is the Vice President of Development for BAV, an award winning, audio visual rental, staging and production company. Derek has worked for and has traveled extensively with BAV for 19 years and serves on various PCMA and MPI committees. To contact Derek or to learn more about BAV please visit www.bavservices.com