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3rd May 2016

Tips for negotiating hotel meetings and events

If you are new to meeting and event planning here are a few tips to consider that may help achieve some measure of savings with guest rooms, meeting services and catering.

• If you have multiple meetings throughout the year consider leveraging these meetings at the same location. Hotel sales managers are looking to achieve certain revenue numbers and they are likely to show more flexibility to a client who they know will return throughout the year.

• Generally guest rooms offer a greater profit margin than any other event service, so leverage total number of guest rooms for the event. Hotel sales managers will show flexibility on meeting room space costs and even catering expenses if they know that an event will incorporate a block of rooms.

• Negotiate food and beverage requirements. Many planners will cut costs by adjusting this category – instead, consider identifying your preferred food and beverage needs, and request discounts as the price exceeds budget.

• Negotiate the audio/visual expense. AV is an area where hidden expenses can quickly add up, and sometimes can be negotiated, but not always. Suggest discounting here, even quoting your own preferred fee.

• Leverage total event spend at the hotel. Generally, Sales will cost each expense item and/or service separately. This “line item” approach favors the hotel or venue and not the client. The event planner should review the total investment at a property, and discuss reductions based on the total amount of money being spent.

• Be flexible. Hold your event during non-peak dates and watch how flexible the hotel sales manager will become.

Finally, remember, if you don’t ask you don’t get!