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Six Figures for Internet?!

You have options when it comes to a production partner as well as other “exclusive” services.

Recently a meeting planner asked AVmedia to help with their Hybrid event in a hotel ballroom. In the end, they couldn’t work with us. Why, might you ask? The “in-house” AV provider wanted to charge them six figures for the required bandwidth for the Hybrid portion of the event since they were considering an “outside” provider. SIX FIGURES!

We know many meeting planners have experienced the practice of certain “in-house” providers quoting one rate for “exclusive” services if you use them, and another, very ridiculous number if you don’t. We also know you don’t believe it’s fair…and neither do we!

Kathy Rees, Regional Director of Sales and Operations for AVmedia On-site Services, and Steve Dumond, Account Manager for AVmedia Production Services, provided some tips to help you navigate around the price integrity for this service. Why would a company want to invoice a customer an outrageous amount for a straightforward service like the Internet? Kathy Rees:

It’s very common for some in-house AV companies. There’s no price integrity. It’s their way of keeping the business with them. Meeting planners don’t typically have $100,000 budgeted for the internet, so they’re forced to stick with the in-house provider to get a lower price. AVmedia does not do that. Our on-site production teams use a pricing model that is tiered, based on bandwidth used or the number of people logging on, NOT provider. It doesn’t matter if you are using us, or bringing in an outside partner, the price for the internet will not change. In short, a good partner would not penalize you for hiring another company

What can be done to protect yourself from price gouging?

Kathy Rees: Before signing a contract with a venue, ask them for their in-house provider’s pricing based on your average expected per-day usage, and get it in writing. It’s even better to have them write the pricing into your contract, that way it stays solid, should you sign. Be mindful of any language saying that the price is subject to change based on whether you use their in-house provider or not and strike that. Ask them to remove any wording from the contract that would prohibit or penalize you from utilizing an outside vendor. That doesn’t mean you won’t use their in-house provider. You can add language indicating that you will give their in-house provider an opportunity to give you a proposal. If they earn your business fairly, then use them! Steve Dumond: AVmedia’s On-Site service team earns your business the right way. We compete for it and earn your trust. We show you value, offer fair and transparent pricing, and show genuine interest in your event and its goals. But AVmedia is an anomaly. Other providers are not the same. They rely on hotel contract language designed to strong–arm you into using them along with punitive pricing practices when you choose to go outside for services. But always remember that you do not have to feel handcuffed by the in-house provider. You have a choice! There are internet service providers out there that can bring in a professional-grade internet structure for less than $100,000. So, when you feel backed into a corner, talk to your AV production partner, and find out if there are any other options in the area. It may not save you a ton of money in the long run, but you will be in control of whom you use. AVmedia works in venues all over the country, and we are familiar with the evolving contract language that is used to make meeting planners feel stuck using the in-house for everything from the internet to rigging to breakout rooms.

In the end, if a hotel wants your group, they will NEVER allow your business to go away over who will be your production partner. If an on-site partner is any good, they will EARN your business fairly.

EVERYTHING is negotiable. Strike all language that limits your ability to choose a production partner, and if you see a reference in the contract to “Production Guidelines that will be provided separately”, ask for a copy and strike all undesirable language before you sign. Contact AVmedia if you would like some advice on how to navigate around this language. We’d be happy to consult with you regarding your contract…free of charge, whether you choose to use us as your production partner or not!


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