Industry Update
Opinion Article14 March 2019

Without a How-To Book for AV Services, Who is Training Hotel Staff on Sales, Set Up and Preventive Maintenance?

Providing outstanding technology services only starts with the equipment — it’s people who make the meetings experience memorable; AVaStar provides courses and quick tips on basic AV and troubleshooting in a format that is easy for non-technical staff

By Eric Bracht, Managing Director, AVaStar

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You've recently opened your hotel or refurbished some of your spaces and took all the necessary steps to ensure that the AV systems were installed properly and working efficiently. This is great news, but . . . who at the hotel will manage all this equipment? There are projectors, screens, flat panel displays, indoor/outdoor speakers, digital signage displays, and background music systems. There may also be portable AV gear, such as wired and wireless microphones, cables, portable projectors and screens, lighting instruments, mixers and adapters. Someone needs to be responsible for the proper care of these systems and equipment, such as preventative maintenance, managed operations, break-fix repair, and software updates. These activities require awareness, skills, procedures, and budgets.

Being able to market your hotel as a meetings destination with outstanding technology services is an important marketing advantage. But this equipment doesn't operate on its own and it doesn't come with an AV Operations Manual. Someone must be responsible for selling, operating and maintaining this equipment to ensure delivery of successful, memorable meetings experiences.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who on premises should oversee AV systems and equipment? Is it Engineering? Catering/Convention Services? Information Technology?
  • Who will provide the training to in-house staff on how to properly sell, maintain and forecast AV technologies?
  • What about staffing? What roles and positions will you need to manage the sales, setup, operations, and maintenance of the AV systems and equipment?
  • Who is going to write the step-by-step instructions for the hotel staff to know how to use this equipment?
  • Who will the staff call when they have questions?

There are no tech school courses being taught on how to setup, run, or manage AV services within venues. Currently, the only way to learn this is to work in an AV rental company, work with experienced AV staff or operate it by trial and error. There needs to be a solution that enables hoteliers to self-manage these processes reliably and consistently, without rigorous or costly training.

Meet AVaStar. . . a managed-services solution that provides step-by-step guidance to manage every aspect of the AV services process. AVaStar is a new platform based on an AV as a Service (AVaaS) model and is supported by AV industry professionals with deep experience in the hospitality industry. Far more than just a software package, AVaStar is ideal for any property self-managing AV and looking for ways to enhance profits and the guest experience. AVaStar supports both technical and non-technical staff with the tools and resources needed to manage an AV operation within a hotel. It is designed to support hotel personnel with little to no experience managing, monitoring and measuring key AV performance indicators while providing tools that an AV team will appreciate, such as revenue and cost accounting, forecasting equipment needs and tracking required service and preventive maintenance. AVaStar enables hotels to provide self-operated AV services with confidence.

Here's how AVaStar works:

Bill is your hotel's banquet manager, and he was chosen to be responsible for AV services. This means he must plan and detail meeting technology needs, manage venue AV equipment and resources, coordinate with vendors to order additional equipment as needed, ensure portable and built in equipment is working and ready for customer use, all while controlling expenses . . . and technology isn't even Bill's primary responsibility.

Unfortunately for Bill, the Event Management system he currently uses only enables him to add AV services to an event (and may allow him to enter inventory counts), nothing else. Bill must figure the rest out on his own, or not - and wait for the inevitable service failure. With AVaStar, Bill can access one dedicated platform to conduct all AV Technology activities in one place. Packed with industry intelligence, AVaStar guides Bill with the tools, resources, information and support that saves him time, effort and money.

Too often we discover that AV equipment is not included in the hotel's preventive maintenance plan - but it should be. Rather than utilizing a separate software for PM procedures, we've added a preventive maintenance schedule module within AVaStar. It identifies which tasks must be performed periodically to keep the systems and portable equipment operating reliably and in optimum condition. It also identifies which tasks can be accomplished by the hotel staff and which need to be performed by a servicing technical contractor - and how often.

Speaking of outside contractors . . . AVaStar takes care of them too. The system easily manages outsourced service providers and cross rental equipment vendors with just a few clicks.

When it comes to self-managing your AV services and equipment, there is help out there. Outsourcing AV services to a third-party provider or going it alone are no longer your only options. AVaStar provides a better, more comprehensive and profitable way to allow your in-house staff to offer efficient and profitable AV services, driving revenue to your hotel's bottom line with confidence.

Eric Bracht

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    About Electro-Media Design Ltd.

    Electro-Media Design Ltd. is an AudioVisual systems design and Acoustical consultation group with expertise in audio, video, control, and related presentation, entertainment, and communications technologies. The practice also includes AudioVisual Operational and Management consulting to address the entire AV systems lifecycle. As independent consultants over the last 25 years, EMD has provided consulting services for more than 800 projects globally, including: hotels, conference and convention centers, spas and resorts, government facilities, corporate board rooms, theaters and auditoria, schools and electronic classrooms, training and meeting rooms, courtrooms, places of worship, restaurants and nightclubs, sports facilities and venues, and command and control centers.

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