Negotiation is often considered an art form! Perhaps, it is because of all the complex components that must come together for a perfect picture. Negotiation by its very nature is collaborative. It requires a keen eye and a host of support to get it right when evaluating RFPs for your meeting.
Let’s begin by considering:
- How to evaluate the offers you receive
- How you can enlist CVB partners to make meeting negotiations both hassle and stress free
- Evaluating the Proposals You Receive to Find the Right Fit for Your Meeting
- Submitting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) is both a time consuming and a multi-step process. In order to make comparing the responses more manageable, it is important to consider several factors that ensure you will find the best fit for your particular meeting.
1. Compared to What?
Make sure you consider multiple options and don’t confirm a hotel to internal stakeholders before you review all of the offers and the negotiations process is complete. When you have multiple offers to compare and contrast, you increase your negotiation leverage. Competition is always good!
2. What’s Included in the Room Rate?
Understanding what is included in your room rate is important and often overlooked. Are you paying for net or commissionable rates? Services of the hotel brands GSO and third party planners should be highly valued and probably worth every penny, however it’s important to the overall negotiation leverage to understand what is being covered. In addition, it’s also prudent to understand the range of rates the hotel is selling to leisure or business transient guests over the dates of your meeting. While this is often difficult to obtain as your meeting may be planned and contracted years in advance, it’s a good idea to have the conversation about whether there will be guest rooms offered below your negotiated rate.
3. Are the Dates Offered Only to You?
Is the hotel offering you your preferred dates on a first or second option? If they are made available only on a second option, you are not the first in line. There is another customer holding the date in front of you. This could decrease your negotiating leverage. Therefore, it is always good to be in the first option position for the best negotiating power, or to have date flexibility if the hotel you really want is offering only second option dates.
4. All Meeting Space is Not Created Equal
When it comes to meeting space, hotels are often reluctant to confirm specific meeting rooms because they are trying to retain the flexibility to maximize their revenue potential and accommodate other groups. However, all meeting rooms are not alike. Ceiling heights, physical configurations, location in relation to each other, and proximity to the guest rooms, may all be important to you depending on your meeting needs. You may or may not want to roll the dice on which meeting rooms will be assigned to you. Meeting room location, along with meeting room rental, should be wisely considered when comparing multiple proposals.
5. Value Adds Often Make All the Difference
Once rates, dates and space are all well understood and compared, value adds may often make the difference in finding the right fit for your meeting. You may want to consider the costs you incur directly versus those passed on to your attendees. Complimentary rooms, discounted staff rooms, concierge level rooms or suites can add up to significant discounts. Meeting room rental and audio/visual expenses also have direct impact on your master account. If lowering your attendee’s expenses is important to you, you may want to consider costs allocated to parking, fitness center, and internet access. These are just some of the examples you will want to consider for value adds. Regardless, they do provide real cost advantages or disadvantages to both you and your attendee and should be considered before, not after the contract is signed.
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 compare the options available to you? No one else knows the destination and its options like the experts of the CVB. They will guide you as you compare the possibilities.
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 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 having 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 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. A call to the CVB is the best call you can make in any destination to ensure success in your meeting negotiations and comparing all your options.