Know how much your account brings to the hotel by providing a past revenue history including:
□ Meeting space utilized at past events
□ Room block and actual pickup
□ Food and beverage purchase history
□ Audio-visual and ancillary outlet history
Demonstrate flexibility regarding meeting dates. Ask about:
□ "Hot" dates
□ Shoulder seasons
□ Holiday periods
□ Off-peak days of the week
Beyond discounted room rates, ask for:
□ Credit for all rooms occupied by registered attendees, regardless of rate (This allows your group to receive credit for rooms contracted outside the block, through online agencies, for example.) Flexible and strategic approach to attrition and cancellation
□ Complimentary rooms based on cumulative use, not nightly count.
□ Early check-in and late check-out times for your guests
□ Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
□ Waived "resort fees"
□ Complimentary or reduced-rate parking
□ Complimentary room upgrades, amenities and meals for VIPs and speakers
□ Reduced rates for board/planning meetings
□ At least a 20 percent discount on in- house audio-visual services
□ Set prices on all food and beverage services
□ Ask the hotel to host a reception for your guests
□ Request a discount for deliveries
□ Request no fees for storage before and during your meeting
□ Discount for early payment
Other tips for successful negotiations:
□ Secure at least three bids for each meeting and use them as starting points in the negotiating process.
□ Consider multi-year contracts, which put you in a powerful position to negotiate great rates for future meetings.
□ Think about partnering with a regional or national director of a hotel chain. They know the value of your business and will negotiate on our behalf.
□ Under-forecast your room block and catering revenue.
□ Ask how the hotel can assist in promoting the meeting.
□ To minimize liability and risk, make sure that you understand all of the contract language. Ask for help if you need it.
□ Come to the table with a list of all your wants.
□ Prioritize what is most important for this event, knowing that you will not receive everything.
About the author:
Katrina Duncan, CMP, is the meetings and events manager for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
916.446.2520 / www.calcasa.org