Challenging TOD Fees

Corporate Audio Visual urges all conference organisers to scrutinize their hotel or venue account and watch out for controversial Technician On Duty (TOD) fees – hidden venue charges that can run into the thousands and are arguably unnecessary.

When event organizers bring in their own AV provider (rather than rely on in-house or hotel ‘preferred’ suppliers) it’s become common practice for hotels to charge “TOD fees” or “Contractor Supervisor Charges”. Hotels argue that they need a TOD to protect the hotel from damage, ensure safety standards are upheld and assist the AV company to integrate its services. AV companies suggest the key purpose of the TOD fee is to act as a disincentive to use external providers.

For event organizers, TOD fees place unnecessary strain on event budgets and force them to use unknown and perhaps inferior in-house service providers. For a basic 2-day/1-room conference an average TOD fee is $1500. Some hotels will charge TOD fees at $1500 per room, making TOD fees for a 2-day conference with 3 breakout rooms in excess of $4000. In some cases there is also an unexplained $1000 penalty just for bringing in the external AV company.

Corporate AV owner-manager, Andrew Parris said “In our experience TODs do little to support the event, so you really have to question to validity of these charges.

Reliable AV is key to the success of any large-scale event and most event organsers want to use someone they can trust – especially if their preferred supplier knows the venue.”

Corporate AV suggests that event organizers challenge TOD fees.

“Depending on the amount you are spending on venue, catering and rooms booked out by the event, you should be in a powerful bargaining position,” said Mr Parris.

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