NEGOTIATION AND CONTRACTS
Facility negotiations sound serious, but they don't have to be intimidating. These are important conversations because negotiations build relationships, which will lead to contracts. Contracts are serious business and when you, as a planner, enter into a contract, you want to be sure you have all the knowledge and information you need. Keep in mind that negotiable items and practices vary between areas of the country, so what may be standard procedure on the East Coast is not necessarily the same on the West Coast....and vice versa.
HOMEWORK PAYS OFF!
Before you begin negotiating, you need some tools! If you've done your homework (refer to the May 13 blog article), you'll be set! You need your meeting profile or prospectus, a history of your meeting or event, the value of your meeting to the facility (your budget), and a profile of your group. If you know your requirements, they will dictate the specific items you can negotiate.
NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD BE WIN-WIN
Don't get bogged down in sleeping room rates! Rates are only one item that can be negotiated. The list of negotiable items may be as long as you want ...it never hurts to ask! But, in order to have a successful meeting, negotiations should be a win-win process. For example, if you get the hotel to provide complimentary meeting room space, but in order to afford this, the hotel cuts back on service staff for your meeting...who wins?
The most important things to remember are that contracts should be written with an equal amount of risk for both parties, and that all your discussions are put into writing so there will be no confusion when it's time for your event. Be sure that everything is in order before you sign the contract. It's a legally binding document. Once signed, most contracts will incur a significant financial penalty if you fail to perform to the written agreement.