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Tips for Successful Hotel Negotiations for Your Company Meetings

June 23, 2014

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When you’re contracting a hotel for your company meeting, many factors can influence whether or not the hotel will meet your requests and offer you a great deal. The main components are hotel occupancy, your booking window (is the meeting next month or next year?), your catering spend (a.k.a. Food & Beverage), and the hotel’s internal pressures.

The more you know about your meeting, the more negotiating leverage you’ll have. By understanding the value of your meeting–your room block, F&B spend, and the room rate your attendees are willing to spend–you’ll know where you stand prior to negotiations.

Your Meeting History and Why It’s Important

Hotel sales managers have an obligation to help maximize occupancy. They need assurance that your group will indeed use the number of rooms that you are committing to in your room block.

If you’re booking a meeting that has been held in previous years, then great! Share a few details from prior meetings: the hotel where the event was held, how many rooms were actually “picked up” from the room block reservation, and your group’s F&B spend. By providing this information, you’re proving your group’s potential to meet its contracted room block commitment.

If it’s a first-time meeting, you still have a few options. Are there any other meetings (of similar size or with the same attendees) that your company has held that you can use to show comparable results? You can reveal your plan to market the event to your attendees. Or is the meeting mandatory for the attendees? Any one of these will build your credibility to fill the room block that you are contracting.

With this data in hand, you can confidently present this integrity at the negotiating table.

Let Them Know if You Have Any Flexibility on Your Dates

Hotels want to quote the availability for your preferred dates. But they may be completely sold out over the dates you want. Sure, there are times when you’re really not flexible on dates. But instead of getting a firm “No” from a hotel, why not leave the door open for alternate dates, and see what they can offer?

This approach doesn’t work every time, but when it does, it can be beneficial for everyone. Imagine going back to your decision maker and saying, “Hey, I know these dates aren’t flexible, but this hotel just gave us a complimentary opening reception worth $10,000 if we push the meeting forward four days.” So, how do you get these types of offers? Simply add a note to your RFP that states: “I’m willing to explore alternate dates if you make it worth the effort to change from my preferred dates.”

Request a Few Hotel Concessions

Concessions are another vital component to hotel negotiations. If you’re not familiar with this term, concessions are the “special deals” that you would like the hotel to include in their proposal, either at a discount or sometimes at no charge at all. These deals may include waiving parking fees or WiFi charges, providing suite upgrades, discounting F&B, offering VIP amenities, and more. Always request concessions that will make a difference in your hotel meeting experience and improve your bottom line at the same time. But how do you ask hotels for these specific deals?

First, determine which concessions are most important to your meeting. Then, list your preferred requests in order of priority directly in your RFP.

We outline our most requested concessions in our FREE Guide to Zentila’s Top 10 Hotel Concessions. DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

You’ll learn how to:

  • Increase your chances of a successful hotel negotiation
  • Save time by making precise concession requests
  • Save your company money

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