How to Combat Shocking Hotel Event Production Costs in 2023
Posted on: February 24, 2023
Planning a 2023 meeting, conference or event at a hotel is going to cost you more. And, depending on where you hold your next event, hotel event production costs could bite hard.
Inflation, supply-chain challenges, and staffing shortages contribute to soaring prices in the events industry. Airfare, hotel room rates, and food and beverage are all up, as the return to in-person events is converging with pent-up demand for event space that is in short supply.
Hotel room rates went up 18 percent in 2022 and can expected to keep on rising this year. Fees and surcharges — which took a breather during the pandemic – are back on the rise as well. Prepare for even higher resort fees, amenities charges, surcharges, mandatory gratuities, credit card fees, convenience fees, and admin fees.
Long-time clients and new prospects tell us what they’re being quoted for everything related to their events and the terms they’re being held to. But their biggest alarm comes from quoted prices for audiovisual and meeting room rentals. One figure for a major metro hotel property was double what it charged in previous years.
We routinely counsel clients to review hotel AV contracts to negotiate the most favorable terms and conditions to manage hotel event production costs. It matters now more than ever.
There are considerable trade-offs when using a hotel’s in-house AV service compared to audiovisual event production specialists. The latter’s sole business is to deliver precision, stand-out corporate and organization events. So when you’re scheduling your event, consider the following:
Get out ahead. Always, always, always meet with your AV professional of choice BEFORE booking a venue. Understanding what you’ll need for a hotel event (and what you don’t) can help you navigate the process. It gives you a leg up in negotiating with the hotel before you sign the contract so not to fall victim to misleading catering contracts and aggressive AV salespeople.
Watch the fees and rental costs. Services fees, equipment, and technical fees can add up, sometimes climbing to 30 percent of your bill, even if you don’t use all the services included in the hotel’s package. Outside AV providers don’t charge services fees. Plus, a hotel’s AV rental and labor rates could run you more than the outside event production specialist’s rates.
Be careful with Internet and power. Hotels will also charge you for access to its Internet and power, as well as their rigging. These vary from event to event. Even if you don’t need Internet, you’ll need power. There could be fees for using higher amperage connections, but charges for using regular wall outlets is a red flag.
Time is everything. When a hotel calculates equipment rental, it charges for the time the equipment it dedicates to your event. If, for example, the duration of your time at the hotel is a week, it charges an equipment rental for every day of that week. Some other venues might charge you a one-day rate on the gear. But the daily fee is equal to an AV specialist’s two or three-day rental, so it looks good as a single day charge. With an AV specialist, for that same week, the greatest number of days they’ll charge for equipment used is typically no more than three. AV companies take into consideration days for travel, setup, rehearsals, and travel home versus the three days the equipment is in actual use. During slow periods, some AV firms might offer two-day rentals for that week.
Try for leverage. Beside the meeting space you’re renting, recognize the full benefit of your event to the hotel, e.g., blocks of rooms, food and beverage services, and on-site restaurants and bars. But even here, hotels may opt to attract luxury vacationers over business groups, especially during weekends. If you have a big group or are looking for a multi-event deal, hotels might be more accommodating to waiving standard AV package requirements to consider making more revenue elsewhere. But these days, your mileage may vary.
Bottom line, in this era of over inflated hotel event production costs you have options to control your budget.
To help you get that true and potentially less expensive AV solution, contact us. We’ll conduct an event production contract review to figure out what works best for your event and budget. For free. Email us at email@example.com, or call (888) 770-0576.