Using The Hotel A/V Staff

When staging an event, the question always comes up about whether to use local techs.  Don’t be fooled, using a local isn't the issue. The issue is about cost vs. performance. It's about the cost saving of unknown performers vs. using vetted techs, people whose skill level, personality and client presentation have been established as expectable -- known vs. unknown at a comparative cost. 

If you use an unvetted tech, someone who does not know your processes or SOPs, he's going to require a lot of hand-holding at a time when you have precious little time to spare, just to get to even a functional operational level. Further, an unvetted tech leaves you with fewer resources to manage last minute changes to presentations, loading presentations to the proper equipment, synchronizing presentation transitions and dealing with any abnormalities that require interaction with the hotel. 


With an untrained/unvetted tech, you are likely to be left with one incapable of dealing with any equipment above a first echelon level, and certainly ill-prepared to deal with a crisis. He's not likely to be able to operate more sophisticated gear, i.e., video switching or routing, recording. (audio or video), WebEx and teleconferencing equipment. For us, a tech at this level is a very real liability.

With all this in mind, let's start the process of planning by establishing exactly what is to be accomplished. Let's establish a benchmark scale of acceptable performance. Let's say that at one end of the scale we have a demanding client who expects everything to go perfectly, including last minute changes and being able to turn on as a dime. Let's say that this is a client who expects a 100 percent or more performance. 

At the other end of the spectrum, let's establish a client who runs a very loose meeting, one that is low budget and he doesn't use much more than rudimentary equipment and doesn't expect much in technical ability. Let's say his meetings require 20 percent performance. Having made the distinction of what we want to accomplish, we can access what it will take to meet our client’s needs. 

To this point, the cost has not been a consideration. Certainly, some clients do not expect much. They'd be happy with a 20-50 percent performance. For them, you have room for errors. For others, not so much. 


What counts here is assurance, quality, service and the ability think on your feet (think innovation). Yes, the cost is an issue, but not until you've decided on what you want to accomplish. Your objective must be determined before any decisions can be made about staffing. You can't project without a projector, you can't record without a recorder, and it takes planning to know what and when things will be needed. 

Once you've established your goal, accessed the technical needs required to accomplish your goal, then you can access the technical skills and talent required to meet adequate levels of performance. It is then that we can talk intelligently about costs, not before. 

The process is pretty much the same for accessing the needs to accomplish any goal and its related costs. There is a logical, systematic, scientific process that has stood the test of time, and It must be addressed. 

The process begins with defining the client’s needs and expectations. Then figuring out just what it will take to meet the client’s expectations. Will you be happy with less or will you require more? What level of performance of going to please you and your customers?