- How to size up your meeting’s 5 desirability factors
- And how to enlist the help of a CVB partner to make meeting negotiations both hassle and stress free
The Desirability Continuum
Did it ever occur to you that not all meetings are created equal? There are in fact, a number of factors which make your meeting more or less desirable to hotels, facilities and destinations. They will affect your negotiation leverage. As a baseline, there are 5 important factors to consider, and while we will explore them individually, you should keep in mind it is the combination of these factors that are ultimately significant. You can counter balance, in your own meeting negotiations, factors of lower leverage with factors that have higher leverage considerations.
1. Meeting Room to Guest Room Ratio
Is your meeting a “space hog” or an “opportunity creator?” Space hogs need lots of meeting space in comparison to the number of guest rooms they occupy. The most important revenue source for a hotel is the guest room, and most hotels want to commit their guest rooms in relation to the most reasonable amount of meeting space possible. If you require all of a hotel’s meeting space, and yet will use only a third of their guest rooms, your leverage will be much, much lower. On the other hand, if you use only a small amount of meeting space and will occupy a larger percentage of their guest rooms, you have opened up the opportunity for the hotel to sell its meeting space to another group for more revenue potential. In this instance, you have higher negation leverage.
2. History of Guest Room Pick-up
Whether you are dealing with one hotel or a number of hotels for a large meeting, your history of guest room pick-up or guest rooms actually utilized is one of the most important factors. If there is a history of discrepancy between the number of guest rooms you have historically blocked, in comparison to the number of guest rooms you have actually utilized, your negotiation leverage will be lower. You can also expect to see higher attrition clauses in your contract because your meeting will be considered higher risk compared to those meetings with more accurate historical ratios.
Understanding and keeping track of your history is extremely important, and is often not a consistent practice among both novice and experienced planners. Once a meeting has concluded it’s always tempting to just “move on” and not obtain this historical documentation for your records, however, it’s a must for stronger negotiation power.
3.Time of Year
Are you “among the many,” or meeting over a “need period”? Every hotel and destination has proven time periods of less demand. An obvious time may be the days immediately before, during, or after a national holiday, but this is highly dependent on the type of hotel (business oriented or resort) and the destination when seasonality comes into play. For example, you are amongst the many, and have lower leverage, when your meeting dates are:
- Over a weekend in San Diego during summer vacation
- Over a weekend in a resort destination like Palm Springs in the winter
- During the most popular citywide convention months of October & November and March, April, May in San Francisco
- During the week in a high volume business transient hotel in Washington D.C.
Conversely, you have greater leverage when you occupy need periods such as:
- Over holidays or weekends in high volume business transient hotels such as the airport in Chicago
- During the weekday in “low season” like January in Denver
Taking the time to consider your meeting time frame and the demand during that time in the destination or hotel you are considering will be a key to your leverage.
4. Arrival and Departure Patterns
Are you a “blocker” or do you fit into more “conventional” arrival and departure patterns sought after by hotels? Again, negotiation leverage is lowered anytime the hotel or facility can’t maximize guest room occupancy. Most 2-3 day meetings arrive on either a Sunday or Wednesday/Thursday and fit back to back quite nicely. What upsets the apple cart is an arrival on a Monday or Tuesday which blocks the hotel’s ability to accommodate another group. However, as mentioned before, this leverage could be offset, if the meeting occurs over a time of the year of lower occupancy, like holidays or right after a holiday when a Monday arrival would be acceptable.
5. Total Revenue Potential
Are there other lucrative elements to your meeting? In addition to guest rooms, other hotel or facility revenue potential is also highly valued, especially catered food & beverage, audio-visual, spa usage, and lounge activity. If your meeting and attendees have a history of spending a lot of money in these areas, you will have higher negotiation leverage when you can provide documentation in a post-event report, compared to much less leverage if all you need is meeting space and guest rooms and your meeting provides no ancillary revenue to the hotel.
CVBs the Ultimate Meeting Planning Partner in Your Negotiations
Is your head spinning thinking about all of the things you really need to understand in order to be an artful negotiator? It is a given to think negotiating the best deal and finding the best fit for your meeting is both complex and time consuming. There are multiple variables both you and the hotels you are considering, will take under consideration.
Therefore we recommend connecting with a highly trained destination expert from a Convention and Visitors Bureau who will be your local resource to help you find the right hotel that fits your specific needs, all for FREE. So whether you are planning your own meeting, or planning the meeting for your customer as a third party service provider.the CVB should be your first call in any destination. After they have a full understanding of your meeting’s desired outcomes and requirements. The CVB’s destination experts will:
- Educate you on the type of hotels and venues in their destination
- Help you understand the desirability of your meeting for the different types of hotels
- Educate you on the seasonality of their destination if lower rates are an important factor
- Once the potentially suitable hotels are mutually identified, the CVB will reach out to the identified hotels and request proposals based upon your requirements, and at your request, can even aggregate those proposals for added ease of consideration.
All this legwork, saving you time and money, is a free service provided to you by the CVBs in the destinations you are considering.
In addition, if you work with a CVB, they record your post-event report or guest room pick up history for you in a national database maintained by Destination Marketing Association International (the trade association for CVBs), exclusive to the CVB community. The CVBs obtain your history from the hotel after your meeting. And you, as a primary contact of a meeting, now have access to your post event report at empowerMINT.com when you are a registered planner. One more way CVBs are working together to make your meeting planning life easier.