• 9 Questions You Didn't Think to Ask Your AV Provider

    FROM THE Winter 2015 ISSUE

Often, the key to the success of a live corporate event is choosing a great audio-visual partner. If you are looking to bring in an A/V partner, it is imperative to qualify the company since in large part you’re relying on them to make the meeting a success. Here are some of the most important questions to ask before you select an audio-visual provider.

1. How long have you been in business? It seems pretty straightforward, but you might be surprised how often this simple question isn’t asked. Let the rookies learn the business on someone else’s dime. You’re better served by an experienced A/V team.

2. Do you have any industry achievements or awards? This is a good way to gain a sense of reputation (or lack thereof) within their industry.

3. What other services do you offer? (i.e. webcasting, mobile applications, production services, video capture, etc.) You may not have anticipated what kinds of additional services are needed until you need them. Don’t wait until then to find out that your chosen A/V partner can’t provide it.

4. What is your process for planning the audio-visual needs of a meeting? A good planning process is very important when it comes to really clarifying the client’s A/V needs, and any credible provider should gladly let you in on theirs.

5. Will there be any change in cost based on the city and venue of my event? In many cases, clients will need audio-visual services at various venues across the country, and as such it is vital to know up front about any possible cost changes.

6. What is your experience in the venue? Every venue has a different layout with specific lighting needs, obstacles, windows, columns, etc.—and this all has a huge impact on the A/V.

7. Can you provide references from events in the same venue or from clients with an event that is similar in size and scope to mine? Taking the previous question a step further, you will want to make sure that they’ve not only handled previous events in the same space, you’ll want to verify that they’ve done so successfully.

8. For cities that require union labor, does the A/V vendor have relationships with the union to streamline the process and help minimize costs? This is a crucial question—and if the answer isn’t an unequivocal yes, you are in potentially risky territory.

9. What differentiates you from your competition? The way the A/V company answers this question is as telling as what the answer is. Basically, look for what they present by way of facts based on experience, capabilities, and credentials, rather than simple platitudes.

Andrew Taffin, CEO of Tallen Technology Rentals, co-founded the Iselin, New Jersey-based company in 2002. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Taffin is also one of the founding members and former president of the International Technology Rental Association (ITRA). For more information, please email services@tallen-inc.com and visit tallen-inc.com.

New partnership brings organized approach to small and midsize trade shows. 


Hello readers,

The tides are turning with new venues in Chicago, with some of the most creative spaces we’ve seen opening in recent years. The brand-new Shore Club is one of those standouts. The seasonal structure, placed square on the sand near North Avenue Beach and with floor-to-ceiling windows offering unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, evokes a coastal vacation feeling many would travel to exotic locations to find—but is right in our own backyard.


These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to brittany.trevick@tigeroak.com.

Alyssa Alexander was recently hired as director of catering at Hotel Allegro in Chicago.

1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new position as director of catering?