Negotiating for Meetings – Part II

In our last post we talked about the buyer’s market in the hotel market. That said, you still need to go into any negotiation with your homework done. Preparation is key. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, such as regarding dates/rates/space. For example, do you want the event held in the venues high season/low season/shoulder season? Are you negotiable on this? Non-peak dates, even at luxurious properties, will be less expensive. What about the day of the week: business hotels are busiest during the week, while resort hotels are busiest during the weekend. Go into the negotiation with an understanding for the other party’s perspective. What are their priorities/deadlines/pressures? Develop a list: what are must haves, like to haves, gifts; and keep focused on the goal. So, maybe they offered you free coffee, but what you really care about is the room rate. They’re dangling free limo service, but perhaps you need more breakout rooms. Another important tool is to share your historical data, this will show your worth and value to the hotel and make them more interested in your business. Ideally you should look at three properties to compare offers. Choose the one that gives you the best deal, whatever that means to you.


If you do multiple meetings in different parts of the country, or the world for that matter, enlist a National Sales Manager or Global Sales Manager of desired hotel chains. Partnering with said people will help you leverage your spend across all the hotels.


Once you proceed to contract, remember that a negotiation is not over until it’s over. Be prepared for changes in the eleventh hour and keep your cool, as often 90% of the negotiation happens in the last 10% of the time. At the IT Exchange Group, we work from our own contract. Our hotel contract is geared to create a document that is fair to both sides, not just geared to the hotel. As a result, it lessens the client’s risk, but also decreases the time it takes to negotiate, because it is more difficult for a hotel to oppose a particular clause if the burdens and benefits are equal to both parties We make sure that it avoids any vague wording or puts either party in any unnecessary risk. You can start from the hotel contract, of course, but expect it to require effort on your part to bring it around to equal footing. Some hotels and chains are more flexible than others.

We can help make your site selection and contract negotiation simple and at minimal or no cost. Give us a call with any of your marketing and event management needs. We’re here to serve you.

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