New SaaS solution enables hoteliers to be in the AV business ‘for’ themselves . . . not ‘by’ themselves
Visit Booth #1019 at HITEC, June 18 to 21, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston
[Gaithersburg, Md.—May 23, 2018]—Self-managing technology requirements for meetings and events can be stressful for small hotel operators, especially those who don’t have the luxury of working with an outsourced technology provider. Sales-and-catering teams have a lot of information to manage and multiple systems to track and communicate meeting planners’ needs – including audiovisual technology. Staff are often responsible for suggesting to meeting planners the types of equipment that will work best for their event; coordinating with outside vendors to order additional equipment as needed; and ensuring that this equipment – whether its portable or built in – is working properly each time, every time. Before pressing the panic button, STOP. Help is on the way, with AVaStar.
AVaStar is a NEW digital platform from Electro-Media Design that guides staff in providing technology services to their customers. It’s a SaaS that is jam packed with industry intelligence to make planning technology for an event easy. With venue-specific service packages to choose from, hotel staff can eliminate errors and omissions in equipment orders. AVaStar ensures that equipment and services are delivered and meeting customer expectations by automatically prompting non-technical users with interactive, step-by-step sales, setup and troubleshooting procedures. And, when it comes to service and maintenance, AVaStar’s ticketing system and maintenance schedule reduces downtime and ensures that everything works.
“As someone who has worked in the event technology field for nearly 40 years (from concept through design, to construction, commissioning, and operations), I have spent my career helping hoteliers and conference center operators to better manage their AV technologies,” said Jeff Loether, president of AVaStar and Electro-Media Design (EMD), the parent company. “Operators of five-star hotels and luxury properties who care about the guest experience want to control AV using their own staff instead of out-sourced vendors; their goal is to deliver a consistent brand experience instead of a patchwork of concessionaires. Small hotel and venue operators want this too, but they often struggle with self-managing their AV technologies. If the revenue stream is not significant enough to attract an outside technology company their only option is to go it alone.
“That’s why I pulled together a team of software developers to create a solution that predicts, prevents, and troubleshoots audiovisual problems before they arise,” he said. “AVaStar is a tool designed for non-technical in-house hotel staff – employees who most likely have another primary job responsibility and who have no AV experience – to manage the event technology process and coordinate equipment rental, set up and servicing. It’s the missing link to event technology management that small operators have been asking for, and they can see it next month at HITEC in Booth 1019.”
AV Technology Emphasis Growing
According to the International Association of Convention Centers’ (IACC) 2017 Meeting Room of the Future™ report, technology is becoming of critical importance in venue selection, as incoming generations are demanding the latest in technology advancements to stay engaged and interact with meeting content. The report states that “Meeting planners are continuing to implement technology that boosts delegate interaction and engagement, and with the success of these new technologies in improving communication, integration of new technology is not slowing down anytime soon.”
In addition, Meeting Planner International’s 2017 spring edition of Meetings Outlook, reported that meeting planners are significantly increasing budgets for conference technology and AV equipment, suggesting that “meeting planners are willing to make the investment because of the competitive edge and wow factor new technologies bring to meetings.” Mobile conference apps, audience response solutions, telepresence/remote presenters, live event streaming, delegate screen-sharing, and Beacon/GPS delegate tracking are just a few technology topping meeting planners’ must-have lists. All these technology-related tasks require more bandwidth. According to IACC, 58% of meeting planners said they would not even consider shortlisting a venue that did not have the guaranteed Internet capacity to support the needs of their event. An even larger majority, 72 percent, indicated that affordable (or free) high speed wireless Internet will be the most critical technology needed for meetings in the next five years.
"It's time to worry less about providing equipment and focus more on ensuring a good customer experience."
“Meeting planners expect modern technology, and small hotel owners and operators need to deliver on those expectations to drive sales and manage expenses to watch that bottom line,” said Eric Bracht, AVaStar managing director and Electro-Media Design senior consultant. “But how is a sales-and-catering manager to know how to spec this equipment and offer additional ideas and solutions for an event? AVaStar provides one dedicated platform to conduct all AV Technology activities. It contains an accounting system that tracks costs and revenues, and it’s available as a mobile app to make tracking last-minute changes and approvals a breeze.
“We invite all hoteliers who are interested in gaining control over their self-managed AV Services to experience AVaStar in the EMD booth at HITEC,” Bracht said. “It’s time to worry less about providing equipment and focus more on ensuring a good customer experience. Although a hotel may need to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to self-managing AV technology, with AVaStar, they will never be alone. It’s packed with step-by-step instructions to make even the most novice staff person an AV technology expert. If additional assistance is needed, help is just a phone call away.”