As a meeting planner, securing the right venue for your corporate offsite is one of the most important decisions you'll make. And in many cases, hotels are the go-to choice for hosting meetings, conferences, and events. That's why it's essential to understand the ins and outs of hotel group sales to get the best possible deal for your event.In this article, we'll cover some of the key secrets of hotel group sales that every meeting planner should know to plan a successful corporate offsite.
1. Start the negotiation early
Hotel group sales work differently than regular bookings. You can't just book a block of rooms or a conference space online and expect to get a good deal. Instead, it's best to start your negotiation process early, ideally six to twelve months in advance.The earlier you start the process, the more time you have to negotiate and get the best possible deal. By starting early, you may also have more options available to you in terms of room rates, meeting space, and other amenities.
2. Understand the hotel's pricing structure
Hotels use a complex pricing structure that varies depending on several factors. These factors include the time of year, the day of the week, the size of your group, and the type of event you're hosting.It's essential to understand the hotel's pricing structure so that you can negotiate the best deal. For example, you might be able to get a lower room rate by booking during the off-season or on a weekday. Alternatively, you may be able to negotiate a better rate if you agree to use the hotel's catering or audio-visual services.
3. Be clear about your needs
When negotiating with hotels, it's essential to be clear about your needs. This includes the size of your group, the type of event you're hosting, and any specific requirements you have for meeting space, guest rooms, or amenities.The more information you can provide to the hotel, the better they can customize their proposal to meet your needs. This also makes it easier to compare different proposals from different hotels.
4. Use a Request for Proposal (RFP) process
An RFP is a formal process used by many meeting planners to solicit proposals from multiple hotels. This process allows you to compare different options and negotiate the best possible deal.When creating an RFP, be sure to include as much detail as possible about your event, such as the dates, the size of your group, and any specific requirements you have. You can then send the RFP to multiple hotels and compare their proposals.
5. Negotiate the contract terms
Once you've selected a hotel, it's essential to negotiate the contract terms carefully. This includes everything from the room rates to the cancellation policy, the minimum food and beverage spend, and the audio-visual fees.Be sure to review the contract carefully and negotiate any terms that don't meet your needs. Don't be afraid to ask for changes, such as a lower cancellation fee or a higher discount on audio-visual services.
6. Build a strong relationship with the hotel
Finally, it's important to build a strong relationship with the hotel. This not only makes the negotiation process smoother but also ensures that your event runs smoothly.By building a relationship with the hotel, you'll be able to get more personalized service and more attention to detail. This can include everything from a complimentary upgrade to a better meeting space to personalized amenities for your guests.In conclusion, knowing the secrets of hotel group sales is critical to securing the best possible deal for your corporate offsite. By starting the negotiation process early, understanding the hotel's pricing structure, being clear about your needs, using an RFP process, negotiating the contract terms, and building a strong relationship with the hotel, you can ensure that your event is a success.
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