From brands to independents, multi-property owners to casino operators, hoteliers say they need support when trying to manage their audiovisual programs on their own
[Gaithersburg, Md.—July 19, 2018]—Electro-Media Design (EMD) President Jeff Loether was “all ears” at HITEC Houston last month as he listened to hoteliers’ tales of woe when self-managing their hotel’s audiovisual operations. Conversations with multi-property owners and operators representing more than 30 hotels (including brands, independents and casinos) are continuing. Operators are eager to learn even more about AVaStar and how the patent-pending solution developed by EMD can help their non-technical staff better coordinate audiovisual equipment rental, set up and servicing.
“HITEC Houston was a successful show for Electro-Media Design as we used this venue to launch a first-of-its-kind solution,” Loether said. “AVaStar is ideal for any hotel struggling with self-managing its AV operations. A management company, for example, probably doesn’t have an AV specialist who oversees and trains staff in the sale, use and maintenance of audiovisual equipment. Each hotel in a multi-brand portfolio scenario may have its own AV specifications; some flags may allow portable equipment while others insist on built-in solutions. It can be really challenging, especially when capturing AV revenue is so critical to the bottom line.
“Most of the folks we met with at HITEC have portfolios of 10 or more properties,” he said. “They’ve been self-operating with no support tools, and it’s been a struggle. We heard the same story from independent property owners and those running casinos. Regardless of the hotel’s ownership affiliation, each person said the same thing: ‘We need help . . . and we had no idea that a solution like AVaStar existed. Please, tell us more.'”
AVaStar is a single, dedicated platform for conducting all AV Technology activities, including planning and providing audiovisual services, managing meeting needs, scheduling resources, and tracking financial performance. It ensures that equipment and services are delivered and meeting customer expectations by prompting non-technical users with interactive, step-by-step sales, setup and troubleshooting procedures. When it comes to service and maintenance, AVaStar’s ticketing system and maintenance schedule reduces downtime and ensures that everything works.
Top Tech Consultants Chime In
Hoteliers are not the only people interested in AVaStar; some of the industry’s leading hotel technology consultants are also intrigued with the software and the efficiencies it brings to hotels.
“AV support is on the front line of hotel convention services – these providers are the ‘roadies’ of the event world,” said Corbin Ball, founder and owner of Corbin Ball & Co. and hospitality’s foremost authority on all-things technology when it comes to the meetings industry. “With the hard work and long hours required, their support is crucial to a successful event. However, especially with smaller properties, in-house AV support services have been left to fend on their own in terms of managing event technology processes and coordinating equipment rental and servicing. There have been no standardized business models and no specialized education to help.
“The addition of a comprehensive online AV support system, such as AVaStar, will be a welcome addition to many in-house hotel AV shops,” Ball said. “With the proper use, it should save time, save money and improve customer service.”
John Burns, president of Hospitality Technology Consulting and a 2006 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame Inductee had this to say: “In my experience, A/V is often the ugly sister in a hotel’s banqueting operation. No one understands it, and no one really wants to. How well it is controlled – charges posted, inventory managed, and staff scheduled – is far less than perfect in some operations. A tool that could assist in bringing discipline to a hotel’s in-house A/V operation should be of real interest to many property operators.”
Dave Berkus, a professional speaker, blogger, futurist and 1998 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame Inductee, addressed AVaStar from the presenter’s perspective: “I’ve given workshops and keynotes in hotels large and small worldwide,” he said. “When I arrive to find no professional A/V staff to greet me, I begin worrying that I’ll next find equipment problems or worse yet, the wrong interface cables. It is a professional speaker’s nightmare. I’ll strongly support any solution that will give me comfort and a great show.”
Managing a hotel’s AV department with AVaStar means:
- Ensuring equipment and resources are where they are needed, when they are needed
- Managing and monitoring activities of support vendors including third-party AV services
- Aiding sales and planning process with prompts and guides
- Managing all portable and installed inventory with one system
- Reducing equipment down-time due to service and repairs
- Placing operational and financial information at your fingertips
- Managing revenue and expenses
- Optimizing return on investment
- Increasing staff productivity
- Extending the power of existing property systems, such as Sales & Catering, through AVaStar APIs
“We’re thrilled that AVaStar has stirred such curiosity among hoteliers, consultants and even the media,” Loether said. “Top editors from the leading hotel press also met with us to learn about this technology to better educate hoteliers. As we expand on conversations with outsourced event-technology companies who are supplying AV equipment to hotels and the industry’s leading suppliers of sales-and-catering software – both of whom will benefit from by partnering with AVaStar – we will keep the industry apprised of the latest integrations and installations.
“Launching AVaStar at HITEC was a milestone for Electro-Media Design,” he added. “Over the next several weeks we will be announcing more enhancements to this software as a service platform, including the development and launch of a new mobile app, and the introduction of AVaStar Academy designed to offer basic and advanced AV services and SaaS training.”
(From Left) Eric Bracht, AVaStar; Abby Elyssa, Hotel Business; Michelle Renn, Hotel-Online; Ann Boone, Hospitality Upgrade; Jeff Loether, EMD; Elliott Mest, Hotel Management; and Anna Wolfe, Hospitality Technology.