are you tech savvy?

Planner Tips

at unique event locations, "it"often stands for "included" and "top of the line"

June 25, 2013 — Event and meeting planners know there is one essential facet that can't be ignored: technology. From A/V services to Wi-Fi, LCD projectors and sound systems, state-of-the-art technology is as important to the success of your event as the catering or guest speaker – sometimes even more so. Yet what planners might not know is that often technology packages are more affordable and just as top notch at non-traditional venues as they are at hotels.

"We have great lighting systems and built-in sound, a hi-def LCD projector and screen systems, plus Wi-Fi. Together they create the total package that others in our area cannot compete with," says Jesse Vogel, director of sales at the Palais Royale at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Indiana. "Planners don't have to mess with speakers, wires, space-taking screens and A/V carts; ours are all built in, and at ZERO cost to the client. Plus we offer an in-house A/V department, free of charge, that will work with you from start to finish."

It's much the same scenario at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where all rooms and facilities include wireless and most have screens and digital projectors. That's not the case at the nearby Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, which charges for in-house A/V equipment and only offers complimentary Wi-Fi with group bookings of 20 rooms ore more.

"All of our theatres come with an in-house, state-of-the-art sound system. Here too, all of the lighting equipment, risers, standard microphones and most other equipment is included with the rental of the facility. Our clients only pay for the time it takes our staff to prepare for their desired set up," says Niels Hagen, event services coordinator for the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts in Calgary, Canada.

He also adds, "We have screens of several sizes, LCD projectors, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, flip charts, easels, laptops and portable sound systems for any spaces that don't have it in-house – all at a very reasonable price and almost always lower than hotels or convention centres." Another one of the main benefits of working with Epcor Centre, according to Hagen: "we don't charge for the use of electricity, which can get pretty expensive at some hotels or convention centres."

So the next time you book your meeting or event, consider which venues are most tech savvy and save your bottom line!