Labor is hotels' No. 1 cost. If you go into a negotiation with some solid ways to save on labor, that's good leverage, says Michael Dominguez, vice president, global sales, Loews Hotels & Resorts. Here are five ideas.

  1. Banquets

    Have your reception and dinner in the same venue. Using a ballroom and its foyer is much less expensive for the hotel to provide than the ballroom and, say, the poolside patio, which would require a whole separate crew.

  2. Setup

    Changing the rounds you had for breakfast into classroom seating for your general session is very labor intensive. Keep the rounds.

  3. Check-in

    Give the hotel detailed information about guest arrivals. If everyone's coming at 11 a.m., the hotel won't overstaff the desk at 8 a.m.

  4. Turndown

    When Loews surveyed guests about turndown, the majority of respondents said they don't want it. Consider the service for VIPs only.

  5. Dining

    With a smaller group, using the restaurant for meals means using labor that's already paid for. “This should count toward your F&B minimum,” Dominguez said (assuming the hotel owns the restaurant). Note also that buffets are less labor-intensive than plated meals.