Before you choose your meeting dates ask the hotel or local convention and visitors’ bureau about other conventions and events scheduled to take place in the city at the same time. There may be groups previously scheduled during your same dates that could conflict with your event.
If it’s a citywide convention that means a lot more people will be in town at the same time, making it more difficult to get restaurant reservations, find taxis quickly and easily, and airport traffic will be much busier making everything more challenging for you and your guests.
If your meeting dates fall into a pattern that precedes or proceeds a major convention chances are your negotiating powers will be far better as hotels need your business on either side of a sold out situation. You’ll have much better opportunities to get deeper discounts when you avoid periods of time when the hotel is full and busy and doesn’t need your business. There is nothing better when a meeting group fills a void at a hotel making it a win-win situation for both parties; you and the hotel. Being flexible with your meeting dates from the beginning of the planning process is key to getting what you want to reduce meeting expenses and add more valuable concessions.
Often organizations choose meeting dates before making this important inquiry. This leaves you little room for negotiating pricing and terms. You should always come up with a minimum of three sets of dates when your meeting could take place and then ask about citywide conventions or other large meetings already scheduled at the hotels you are considering before selecting your preferred meeting date to avoid being lost in the crowd.
After all, your company’s meeting should be the main attraction in the hotel so that you receive the attention and service you’re after as well as the ability to collaborate with the hotel to reduce pricing to the bare minimum for all meeting costs. And, hotels are much more willing to offer better and more concessions when your meeting dates fall into a “need” period for a hotel. You will get everything you want and more as hotels will be thrilled to have your meeting over a set of dates that are hard to fill pre or post other large conference meeting dates.