If you want to get the most for your money when booking meeting or event space, you need to negotiate, says Anthony Coyle-Dowling, director of sales with Zibrant. Don’t just accept the price you’ve always paid for the place you usually use or take the first price you’re quoted at a new location.
- Start with research. Review your spending and usage patterns for places you’ve booked in the past. Then identify mistakes that may have cost you money and build a list of preferred suppliers with prearranged rates, terms and conditions.
- Establish priorities. Think about how your space needs will change in the coming year and consider how those changes will affect your requirements for locations, room sizes, Wi-Fi, parking and quality of venues.
- Consider a variety of locations. Don’t dismiss properties you’ve rejected in the past. Be aware they are frequently updated and keen to attract new business. New venues may also be eager to establish a client base.
- Think of ways to save. Venues value volume, so if you can do a variety of events at one location you’ll get a better price. If you can get a good deal that fits your needs, you can benefit in other ways from establishing an ongoing relationship.
- Add accommodations. Taking a block of rooms in addition to meeting space can add additional savings.
- Mention added-value items. These include Wi-Fi, parking, food and drink.
- Look at cancellation contingencies. You want to secure good cancellation terms from the start.
- Discuss AV and other equipment. These can add a lot to your bill, so take them into account in negotiations.
- Think about your full spend. Don’t just try to get the best rate on bits and pieces of your booking, think about the package as a whole.
- Go back and forth with offers. Be fair, but go back and forth to get the best deal you can negotiate. Don’t be afraid to go back after the deal is set if you get an offer of better terms elsewhere.
Online resource: Download our Meeting Planning Checklist.
— Adapted from “Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation,” Anthony Coyle-Dowling, Executive Secretary.