What is in this article?:
What you need to know to successfully negotiate afor your meeting, from knowing what you absolutely must have (as opposed to what you want), to rooms-to-space ratios, to concessions and addenda—plus a primer on the role a hotel's revenue manager plays in the background of the negotiating process.
Separate Your Needs from Your Wants
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to negotiating a meeting, from rooms-to-space ratios to concessions to addenda. It can be easy to get carried away in your demands, but stop for a moment and think about what’s truly needed for your group, and what you’re willing to concede to get it. For example, if a lower room rate is imperative, can you agree to a room-rental fee or give up a 24-hour hold on meeting space? Can you consider a Sunday night arrival, guarantee a higher food and beverage minimum, or move an off-site dinner to the property? Any of these options might sweeten the deal enough to get the hotel to lower your rates.
Conversely, if your group can absorb a higher room rate, will the hotel comp the Internet access your attendees crave, or waive the fitness center fee? Can it throw in an audiovisual or business center discount, or provide more upgrades and amenities?
When in doubt, ask if a particular item is something you need to have or something you would like to have, said Vachon. “To qualify as a must have, you have to be willing to walk away if you can’t get it,” he said. Be fair—remember that if you reduce your block, you also will need to reduce your concessions. And be smart about what you ask for when it comes to concessions: In today’s environment of close scrutiny, you might not want to ask for a limo to pick up your VIPs.