(A Few Reasons) Why AV Prices Everywhere Are Going Up

More organizations than ever are returning to in-person (or hybrid) events, and many of our clients are concerned about the increase in prices they’re seeing from 2019. Professional event production has gotten more expensive; why?

Unsurprisingly, it’s complicated. For one, inflation hit a four-decade high of 9.1% in June. Additionally (because of supply and labor issues far beyond the scope of this article), the cost of everyday equipment like screens and projectors has gone up 15-50%. There are also greater expectations from consumers. It’s death by a thousand cuts, which can be difficult to explain to members of your team concerned about the budget.

Generic stock image, bitcoin.

Ultimately, though, we’ll leave the market analysis to the professionals. Instead, we just wanted to share our own experience—the main reason that we’re seeing partners spend more on event production. In short? They want more.

  • More out of the event; they want to spend time building community, creating a space where people genuinely feel like they’re a part of something greater than themselves. 
  • More support; they’re tired of being treated like a transaction, they want to work with people who understand their mission and can help them continue to evolve as an organization.
  • And for our nonprofit partners, more giving; they want to inspire greater generosity, move more people to support their cause. Greater returns require a greater investment.

For many organizations pre-pandemic, in-person events had become routine. There were the same workshops, seminars, galas, dinners, fundraisers, auctions, etc. every year. It was just how these things worked. Now, though, the time spent in isolation has given people a new perspective. They want to re-imagine their annual events. They want to focus on building community, on creating something meaningful.

Picture of a formal gala setup, mostly empty.

Completely reimagining your traditional event usually means incurring greater costs.

  • Adding elements of hybrid event production, for example—a livestream, a way for the virtual audience to engage with the people in the room, etc.—means more equipment, more staff, and more planning.
  • Forgoing your conference’s keynote speaker for a professional event facilitator (someone who can help create meaningful interactions between attendees and turn a conventionally passive experience into an active one), costs more.
  • Hiring a professional video team to help you create promotional material before your event, capture footage during your event, or develop a thoughtful follow-up strategy after your event, also costs more.

It all usually means incurring greater costs, but not always.

We’ve seen some organizations get creative in ways that actually save them money, like Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. Instead of bringing in a big-name performer (think Sting, John Legend) like they had in the past, Variety focused on creating a community-driven experience and centering their recipients. The night was a resounding success, and you can watch the case study below.

The fact of the matter is, though, that yes: on the whole, AV prices are going up. We’re just not in the same place that we were in 2019. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! Investing more into your events can help you create significantly more meaningful experiences for your attendees. It can also help you see better returns. Those examples of greater costs we mentioned before?

  • Hybrid events can allow you to reach a far greater audience than an exclusively in-person event. They’re significantly more accessible!
  • A professional event facilitator can help you create something life-changing. There’s so much wisdom in the room, and only when attendees have a chance to connect with each other (instead of just listening to someone else speak) can you truly begin building community. It’s the best way to create the synergy that drives collaboration. (We have close relationship with XCHANGE, and encourage all of our partners to let us bring in one of their expert facilitators.)
  • Video is a must. It’s responsible for more than 80% of online traffic, and even just capturing footage the night of your event can give you enough content to last for years. You can send out highlight videos to re-engage your attendees, include it as b-roll in promotional videos, and use it to more effectively market next year’s event. The potential is staggering.

So to recap: right now, the single greatest factor that we’re seeing drive up costs is clients coming to the table with greater hopes. They want to do more. And we want to help them.

Contact us to see how we can help you reimagine your next event.

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