The transition day gave an opportunity for Douglas Hammond, NFP’s chairman and CEO, to address the entire audience, which also included home office executives, NFP staff, and insurance carriers and other sponsors.
As with many large, mission-critical meetings, the NFP Strategy Summit requires both complex staging and production for its general sessions and more straightforward audiovisual equipment for breakout sessions. Todd Zint has developed a “hybrid” solution for sourcing the conference’s needs, using an outside production company for the general session and a hotel’s in-house AV staff for the breakouts. “It streamlines costs to use our preferred production company for the mainstage platform,” he says. “It also provides continuity, so our execs are working with the same crew and producers every time.”
He also negotiates “static” in-house AV rates, meaning that, if he uses the same setup in a breakout room for five days he negotiates a flat rate rather than paying a daily rate, which would include daily setup and breakdown fees. It’s important to work on these fees early, he says. “The greatest leverage you have is at the time of negotiating the general hotel contract.”
He also prefers to use the in-house AV for part of the conference because it creates a better rapport with the AV team, whom planners invariably interact with at some point even if they aren’t providing all the equipment and services. It also can mean reduced travel costs for the outside production vendor if they don’t have to focus on the cookie-cutter breakouts. “Even though on paper the in-house AV vendor often is more expensive, it is not necessarily the case in practice,” he says.