Hotels are enjoying a strong economic recovery after a very long dry spell. They have seen steady increases in occupancy, average daily rate, and demand for group and event business. So what does that mean for your company meeting? With hotels selling out in a shorter amount of time, you’ll need more lead time for planning your company meetings. With this increased demand, you also will likely see higher room rates and meeting costs than in recent years. Although the market has changed, you can still book your meeting within budget by negotiating more strategically. Start by evaluating your overall meeting needs and what’s most important to you – then work with the hotels to achieve your goals.
Negotiating Hotel Concessions
Even in this seller’s market, hotels need to compete for your business. They may not be as flexible with reducing room rates and meeting costs, but including concessions on your next Meeting Request (eRFP) can help make up for higher rates. It’s an easy way to improve your next hotel meeting experience – and your bottom line.
What are concessions? They are the “special deals”, typically discounts or complimentary services you would like the hotel to include in their proposal. Those deals may include waived parking fees, complimentary WiFi, suite upgrades, food & beverage discounts, VIP amenities, and more.
Asking for concessions is another way of communicating to the hotels what’s important to you while setting a level of expectation as to what they should include in their proposal. But how do you ask hotels for these specific deals? First, determine which concessions are most important to your meeting. Your chance of a successful negotiation increases when you concentrate on those that help you meet your meeting’s goals. Negotiating concessions can be intimidating at times, but go in with confidence and prove that your needs are valid. By showing a sense of knowhow, you’re much more likely to get what you want.
Here are a few commonly requested concessions along with a description on how to request each of them.
Concession #1: Complimentary Guest Rooms Ratio
This is a favorite among meeting planners and one hotels expect to see when receiving your eRFP. It gives your company “credit” based on your group’s guest room pickup by rebating one room-night’s charge for every 50 room-nights that your group uses.
Request: “1 complimentary room-night for every 50 rooms picked up, cumulative.” (This is often abbreviated to “1 per 50 comp.”)
The Outcome: If you pick up 150 room-nights cumulatively, you’ll receive credit for 3 room-nights on your hotel master bill
Concession #2: Suite Upgrades at Group Rate
Suites are great for your VIP attendees and can also provide flexible space for small receptions and meetings. Ask for at least one suite upgrade for your group, even if you have just 10 rooms per night. If suites are important, then add additional suite upgrade requests for every 25 regular rooms that you’re blocking
.Request: “One [two/three /etc.] suite upgrade(s).”
The Outcome: Suites are expensive. If your group needs suites, asking for this can save your company $1,000 or more with each meeting, and your VIPs will feel the VIP treatment without you having to pay for the upgrades.
Concession #3: Complimentary Meeting Room Rental If Food and Beverage Minimum Is Met
Hotels love it when you spend money in catering. That’s why they’ll usually ask you to spend a minimum amount. The point here is that if your meeting is not very space-intensive, you can try to leverage your catering spend to offset room rental.
Request: “No room rental charges if food and beverage minimum is exceeded.”
The Outcome: It’s a quid pro quo of sorts. You’re saying that you agree to spend at least the F&B minimum; in return, you’d like the hotel to waive the rental fees for your meeting space.
Send your meeting request to hotels with ASAP’s eRFP Solution
You have access to the most intuitive eRFP solution in the meetings industry – and it’s free to ASAP members! You’ll receive hotel proposals with great offers, usually the same business day. Just click the link on the ASAP homepage or go to: https://www.asaporg.com/resources/zentila
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