The true secret to an integrator’s long-term success in the entertainment hospitality market lies in each integrator’s ability to extend their creativity beyond the systems they design and install to the ways they manage their customer business relationships, according to Stampede Presentation Products, Inc. president and COO, Kevin Kelly.
“For an integrator to grow their business in this challenging market segment, they need to fully evaluate each individual project and pursue only those that operate on terms that keep their bottom line protected and ensure that money is coming in,” Kelly challenged.
According to Kelly, it’s no secret that the entertainment and hospitality market thrives on ‘what’s hot,’ but it’s important to always remember that this idea is not solely limited to the drinks and food served or the live acts that are booked. Audio/video solutions greatly enhance the “night out experience” for guests, and because every establishment wants to stay fresh and attract guests night after night, the market reacts positively, often enthusiastically, to just about every creative and cutting-edge technology solution brought to market.
“Whether or not guests interact directly or indirectly with installed AV solutions, their overall ‘atmospheric’ experience can be greatly influenced by the AV system that surrounds them,” Kelly emphasized. “For example, a restaurant may elect to have audio/video control functionality at each booth, allowing each party to personalize it’s own unique atmosphere. For a large multi-level nightclub, cutting-edge CCTV surveillance systems allow the establishment to monitor and ensure guests’ safety throughout the venue. To keep business booming, entertainment hospitality providers need to integrate all traditional AV elements, such as flat panel displays, projectors and sound systems, plus take advantage of increasingly popular energy management solutions that protect their equipment and reduce their energy bills.
“When the opportunity is right,” Kelly continued, “and an integrator takes on a bar or club installation project, they may discover that the owners expect payment terms that allow them to slowly pay off their AV investment from the cash flow that comes in over the first few months of operation. But every integrator knows that the only way to guarantee you make money on a job is to be paid in full, before the new venture has time to fizzle out. Finding agreeable terms for both parties is where creativity is paramount.”
When a potential customer demands payment terms, an integrator’s suggested conditions could range from a simple solution of requiring the venue to pay a deposit, with the remaining balance to be paid in full on the first day of installation, or they could suggest a more creative payment structure, an idea that one integrator has done for projects in this unpredictable market.
“Instead of operating on a sales model, he converts the proposal to a lease with a specific payment schedule,” said Kelly. “This contract allows the integrator to remove the equipment on a Thursday or Friday afternoon unless the payments are made on schedule. Amazingly enough, this scenario can work out to the benefit of both parties. No pub or club owner wants to go into the weekend without their AV equipment, so the integrator found that venues with this term structure pay their bills promptly – and in full!”