5 Tips for Negotiating with Hotels

contracts, negotiating
Hotels are more agreeable if you can share a proven history, including food and beverage.

Convention Connections’ founder Diane Malloy has 18 years of experience negotiating hotel and convention center contracts. Following are 5 tips to get the most traction from your negotiations.

 1) Never accept a standard hotel contract. Standard hotel contracts are typically one-sided to benefit the hotel. Multiple performance-driven clauses that are written in favor of the hotel are typically included in the hotel’s contract. Make sure you understand all of these clauses before signing the contract.

2) Fully understand the value and history of your event. It is important to know how your meeting has performed in the past as related to what you are requesting in the contract. Hotels will become much more agreeable to items in the contract if you have a proven history. Specifically, make sure to track your room pickup, food and beverage expenditures, audio visual expenditures, shipping costs and any other ancillary costs.

3) Request that the hotel assign meeting room names in the contract. In most hotel contracts, they will only list your agenda with the type of room set-up and the number of people anticipated in attendance for each function. If pushed, the hotel will sometimes identify the meeting room assignments by name in the contract. It is very important to crosscheck their meeting space assignment with their capacity charts.

4) Always have multiple options available to leverage your business. Having multiple options creates a more competitive bid environment. There is nothing better than having a Plan B when negotiating with the hotel that you prefer.

5) Remember: Everything is negotiable. This is an overused phrase, but when you review the contract provided by the hotel, look at each contract clause and prioritize what items are most important to you. Yes, rate is important, but there are many other items that hotels will negotiate to earn your business.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.