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.
Know Your Seasons
Your ability to negotiate also will depend on what’s going on in that destination over your meeting dates, so it pays to know occupancy patterns. As Vachon pointed out, your ability to negotiate in Scottsdale during the winter is not as good as it would be in the summer. Vachon’s co-presenter, Claudia Rudkins, CMP, director of sales, worldwide accounts, with Hilton Worldwide, added that it’s important to know if there is a local holiday or some other reason there may be a lot of traffic in that particular city over your dates. If you’re looking to book something the weekend before Memorial Day in Indianapolis, for example, you can think again, said Vachon. The Indy 500 happens that week, and “Memorial Day is booked for the next 27 years. It’s not going to happen,” said Vachon.
And since pharma meetings are notorious for being space hogs with low rooms-to-space ratios, just getting the space you need can be a struggle. Rudkins suggested scheduling your meeting during a citywide, when rooms are already booked and the space is lying fallow anyway. This is one time when pharma’s notoriously short meeting timelines can work in your favor, said Vachon, because “if the space isn’t sold yet, chances are that it won’t be.” Rudkins added that it can help to put your rate cap in the request for proposal. “If you absolutely can’t pay space rental, but your ratio comes close to what we want, we may be able to come close to the rate you want.”
As an aside, Rudkins and Vachon noted that planners should keep certain “Hallmark holidays”—Mother’s Day and Halloween, for example—on their blackout list, especially if their intended audience is composed of people with young families.