Debate over “unfair” venue charges continues

Debate over “unfair” venue charges continues
By admin

Industry groups have hit back at venues which charge exorbitant fees to use external AV suppliers, branding them as “unfair charges” which punish clients for having their own choice.

In an extensive interview with The Nibbler earlier this week, AV1 managing director Keith Wootton singled out additional venue charges as one of the major grievances facing AV suppliers.

While excessive technician on duty fees have been singled out in the past, Wootton said some venues are also charging exorbitant fees to use off-site AV suppliers.

Noting that the fees are designed to encourage clients to use the venue’s in-house supplier, he branded them as “petty” charges which only ensure venues don’t miss out on revenue.

“Charging fees that don’t cover anything tangible is unfair. It's a petty charge that only punishes clients for having their own choice,” he said.

With the fees often topping $1000, Wootton said the charges are unreasonable for smaller events.

“If you’re looking at a $3000 rental and a $1000 AV fee on top of that, of course clients are going to look at that cost as prohibitive and opt not to use their own AV supplier,” he said.

Meeting and Events Australia (MEA) chief executive Linda Gaunt said the fees have been at the centre of a heated debate between venues and AV suppliers, prompting the organisation to arrange a meeting with 50 key players last month.

Following a lengthy discussion with all concerned parties, MEA agreed to establish a checklist outlining what questions clients should ask venues before booking. MEA will also promote venues which don't charge the fees, with the hope of encouraging other venues to follow.

“We can’t stop venues from charging the fees, but we can encourage them to reconsider by promoting venues who are doing the right thing by their clients,” she said. “We will continue to be a mediator in this space, but we are making headway.”

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