Trying to Buy in a Seller's Market? Here are five tips from Corporate Meetings & Incentives' columnist and professional meeting planner Judy Williams, from her new book, "Meet Right."
1) Insist that yourstipulate service guarantees--If a break arrives more than 15 minutes late, for example, insist on a 5 to 10 percent discount on contracted prices.
2) Do not pay taxes on gratuities--If a hotel incorrectly calls the "add on" a gratuity, this is by definition voluntary, when it is actually a mandatory service charge. While each state has slightly different laws, if a hotel mandates this charge, it becomes part of the sales price and is therefore deductible. Word yourcarefully and in accordance with the laws in your meeting location.
3) Insist on reciprocity in contract clauses--One example of this is if a hotel retains the right to cancel your meeting, insist in your contract that the hotel compensate your group for the inconvenience and all expenses associated with the relocation.
4) Consider second-tier cities--They are hungry for business, and this is reflected in their increased service levels and a willingness to negotiate and work with you.
5) Consider alternative venues--Universities, museums, aquariums, movie theaters, and historic sites not only have professional staffs, but they offer something completely different from just another ballroom--and often at a lower price.