As we have entered a post-pandemic world where in-person gatherings are once again becoming a safe reality, event organizers are faced with a crucial decision for their hybrid events: whether to rely on the venue’s in-house AV team or outsource their AV and live-streaming production partner. In this blog post, we will delve into the considerations and budget implications of each option, providing recommendations based on our extensive experience with both approaches.
In-house AV Team Considerations for Hybrid Events
Depending on the location of your event venue, the in-house AV team might have had an extended period of downtime during the pandemic. While some AV techs may have found freelancing opportunities to sustain themselves, the lack of consistent work may have disrupted the team dynamic and affected their expertise in working together effectively. It’s crucial to recognize that this dynamic can have a direct impact on the success of your event.
Furthermore, it is important to acknowledge the current trend within in-house AV teams. Many venues had to downsize their staff during the pandemic, leading to a significant number of new and inexperienced individuals joining their AV teams. By opting for the in-house AV route, you might find yourself relying on well-intentioned staff members who lack substantial experience in the field.
While these new team members may possess enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, it’s essential to consider the potential risks associated with entrusting important aspects of your show to individuals who are still in the early stages of their careers. The success of your hybrid event depends heavily on the expertise and proficiency of the AV team handling the technical aspects.
Therefore, when making the decision between in-house AV and outsourced production partners, it becomes even more crucial to carefully evaluate the capabilities and experience of the in-house team. Taking the time to assess their track record, training programs, and ongoing professional development initiatives can provide insights into their ability to deliver a seamless and high-quality hybrid event experience.
Remember, while in-house AV teams may have good intentions, their lack of extensive experience could potentially result in challenges and learning curves that could impact the overall success of your event.
It’s important to note that most in-house AV teams typically have a more general, well-rounded tech role rather than specialized expertise in digital events and the latest virtual event platforms.
In addition, in-house AV teams may have less updated equipment and tools to deliver a seamless hybrid experience due to the shutdown. While some venues have made efforts to upgrade their infrastructure, it’s essential to ask the right questions about their technological capabilities.
Keep in mind that the AV bill from an in-house team will likely include a service charge ranging from 20 to 30%, unless you possess exceptional negotiation skills. However, it’s worth exploring the potential benefits an in-house team can offer, such as bundled services related to broadband, power, discounts on multi-room AV equipment, and even in-person AV versus live-streaming technology.
Outsourcing the AV Production Partner for Hybrid Events
In contrast, when considering an outsourced AV production partner, it is assumed that the chosen partner has been actively involved in virtual events since 2020 and has continued to adapt their skills and expertise to the evolving hybrid event landscape.
A proficient outsourced production partner will have accumulated a wealth of experience by working on numerous virtual and hybrid events. They would have made mistakes and learned valuable lessons along the way. The complex nature of well-produced, high-quality virtual and hybrid events demands a deep understanding of the various moving parts, and an experienced partner can navigate them with precision.
Outsourced partners are likely to have invested in the latest gear and tools necessary for delivering exceptional hybrid events. Through their extensive event repertoire, they will have become proficient in operating and maximizing the potential of this new equipment.
Cost negotiation with an outsourced partner is often more flexible compared to an in-house team, as they prioritize quality over quantity and have lower overhead costs. They typically specialize in specific tech roles, especially those related to virtual/hybrid technology and production.
Assuming you have built a solid relationship with an external AV partner, they will possess an intimate understanding of your event requirements, surpassing that of any in-house team. Moreover, there are no service charges to worry about when working with an outsourced partner.
1. **Consider the experience and expertise:** In-house AV teams may have faced challenges during the pandemic, leading to potential gaps in their experience with virtual events. Outsourced AV production partners, on the other hand, have likely accumulated extensive experience and expertise in hosting virtual and hybrid events, making them well-equipped to handle the complexities involved.
2. **Evaluate the technological capabilities:** In-house AV teams might have outdated equipment and tools due to the shutdown, while outsourced partners often invest in the latest gear to deliver exceptional hybrid experiences. It’s crucial to assess the technological infrastructure of both options to ensure seamless event production.
3. **Cost considerations:** In-house AV teams usually include a service charge in their bills, typically ranging from 20 to 30%. Outsourced partners, however, often offer more flexibility in cost negotiations and have lower overhead, potentially resulting in cost savings for your event.
4. **Specialization and expertise:** In-house teams often have a more general tech role, while outsourced partners specialize in specific areas, particularly in virtual/hybrid technology and production. Outsourced partners can provide a higher level of proficiency and specialized knowledge for your event’s technical requirements.
5. **Relationship and familiarity:** Building a long-standing relationship with an external AV partner allows for a deep understanding of your event preferences, brand, and objectives. Over time, they become intimately familiar with your needs and can provide personalized and tailored solutions, offering a level of familiarity that may be harder to achieve with in-house teams.
Ultimately, the decision between in-house AV and outsourced production partners should be based on careful consideration of the specific requirements and goals of your hybrid event. Understanding the trade-offs, expertise, and potential cost implications will help you make an informed choice that ensures the success of your event. Let us know your thoughts on whether you should opt for an outsourced AV partner or rely on the in-house AV team for your upcoming hybrid event.
Are You Considering a Hybrid Event?
We are here to help. At Tree-Fan Events, we possess extensive expertise in event planning, high-end production, audio-video visual, live-streaming technology, virtual event producing, scripting, and event directing. With over two decades of hands-on experience in production and technology, and a network of world-class partners, we are your ideal choice for creating and customizing an enriching virtual or hybrid event experience that aligns with your objectives. Let’s have a conversation to discuss how we can assist you in making the best decision for your event.