For anyone in the Meeting Planning industry, 2022 has been a year of excitement as meetings move back to in-person attendance. Halted suddenly by the Covid pandemic, in-person gatherings ranging from small academic meetings to large-scale convention expo’s are reawakening after a two-year slumber. Prior to 2020, these gatherings numbered participants  just over a billion people each year. While it might take some time to get back up to those markers, one thing is for sure- technology has enhanced the way we communicate. Conversely, if audio, visual and communication technology isn’t ready to meet the people for the next meeting, professional meeting planners will be looking for a venue who can provide. 

Often, convention management teams are tasked with finding the right vendor to help design and implement an AV upgrade that will keep their convention center effective and equipped for the future, but knowing what to include in the RFP (request for proposal) can be daunting. We’ve collected 4 helpful items to think through as you created your RFP for your convention center’s audio, visual and communications upgrade: 


  1. Know the size of the space(s) and zones needed for audio, visual and communication.
  2. Know the capabilities of the space you’re wanting to upgrade.
  3. Know the scope and level of involvement you want out of your AV vendor.
  4. Know what will define success.


Know the size of the spaces and zones needed for audio, visual and communication
Banquet halls, concourses and expo centers means having spaces and zones that will need to be individually operable. Make sure to note in the RFP if speakers will need the capability to be combined with any or all the other zones. Rarely will this just be needed in an exhibit hall and concourse, but throughout the entire smart building setup. Understanding the size of the rooms and zones means a vendor can factor in appropriately sized speakers or acoustic panels. This gives your RFP a better ‘apples to apples’ comparison. Vendors need to be able to factor in these sizes and ranges for the best outcome in volume, tonal qualities for clearly intelligible speech and the full range for music or sound. 


Know the capabilities of the space you’re wanting to upgrade
Everyone wants a space that sounds good and communicates well, but there is so much working behind the scenes to make that happen. Make sure to include that the right vendor will need to understand the adequate wattage and the safety regulations for any hanging sound system. This includes knowing the appropriate cables, clamps, safety cables, grill covers, etc. that go into a full AV design and implementation.  


Know the scope and level of involvement you want out of your AV vendor
Sure, it can sound and look amazing, but what about the old system? Make sure your RFP articulates your expectation of what will happen with the old system that is getting replaced. And don’t forget any software implementation and subsequent training you and your staff will need after the project is complete. Finding the right vendor to design is one thing, but making sure the vendor has the ability to implement, train and support is important to consider into your selection process. 


Know what will define success
When upgrading your convention center’s AV, RFP’s should articulate what success will look like for this project. Articulating budget, timeline, functionality and production expectations help to ensure the right vendor knows what will determine success for this project. Is there any current audio visual technology that you want to stay and some you want to go? Is there new technology like digital signage and MOOD Media you’d like implemented for increasing communication and engagement with visitors to the convention center? All these elements articulated out in an RFP will help your team compare ‘apples to apples’ in selecting the right vendor for this incredible project. 


Creating an RFP for audio visual and communications can be tough when trying to think through all the details that will get you a great pool of vendors. While these four items are not exhaustive, they can be a great starting point to making sure you aren’t leaving anything out. 

Are you ready to upgrade your convention center’s audio visual and communication system?