As someone who has sourced and negotiated hundreds of contracts for groups with as few as 15 people, to as many as a few thousand, the keys to successfully developing a fair and balanced agreement are consistency and collaboration.
It’s not unusual for meeting planners to become creatures of habit and consistently use the same concessions in the contracts they negotiate. Over time, we know which ones will create and add value and increase savings. We have the “go-to” items we automatically request and if you’re like me, a whole laundry list of concessions from which we pick and choose, based on certain elements of the meeting or event. And because we tend to be detailed oriented and organized, we want these lists in an easy-to-find location. A great way to stay organized with your ever-growing concessions list is to add them to your planner profile on HopSkip.
Business is beginning to feel familiar again, and we have gone from “no” to a full-on “go” in terms of distributing RFPs. The time that we had so much of in the past year is suddenly a rare commodity, but as savvy planners know, every contract needs our attention so that the details are correct, and nothing is missed or overlooked. Negotiating is a fine art of giving and take, of meeting in the middle, and collaborating with your hotel sales partner will allow you to reach that middle ground so that the final agreement is balanced and equitable for both parties. Getting to that middle ground means putting your cards on the table, face-up, so there are no surprises between you and the hotel. This allows both parties to operate as equal partners working towards a common goal, which is a successful meeting.
The concept of cards on the table also means educating your hotel partner about goals, both for the meeting as well as for you, the planner. No doubt, budget is a driving factor and one way to create savings is by negotiating concessions that support the budget. There is literally no single item that you should be timid to request as a concession. Nothing is off the table, depending on the size of your meeting and the number of attendees. If the room rate is a little higher than you had hoped for then request a 1 per 40 room comp. While it’s standard for the hotel to offer 1 per 50, you’ll never know what they will agree to unless you ask.
Lately, I’ve been seeing more hotel contracts with daily attrition verbiage instead of cumulative. This is a pitfall so request that the attrition be cumulative and that any pre and post days also be counted. Hotels are reopening with new sanitation devices installed in meeting rooms and common areas. This is great but ask if there is a charge for using them. As I recently discovered, the device is complimentary, however, the liquid sanitizer is not included. When I asked about the charge, I was surprised at the cost I was quoted. After doing a little homework I discovered it is far more economical to purchase the sanitizer by the gallon and refill the dispensers myself. I requested I be allowed to do this, at no additional fee and the hotel agreed. And I now have a new concession to add to my growing list in my planner profile on HopSkip. See how this works?
The author is the owner of Kite Meeting Management, a premier meeting planning agency created and built with 20 years of hands-on experience as a corporate planner of internal meetings, external user-conferences, incentives, board meetings, pharmaceutical investigator programs, symposia, world congresses, and tradeshows, both domestically and internationally. Kite Meetings is also your visibility expert, working hand-in-hand to create and develop themes, designs, content, registration websites, and videos as well as your go-to to procure the perfect gifts and swag for the event. Kite Meetings is aiming higher and going farther, every single time. Visit our website at www.kitemeetings.com and allow us to reduce your stress while elevating your event to the next level of excellence.