Prior to signing a hotel contract for meetings, there are five top pre-contract requests meeting planners should request. As a former hotel sales manager I was trained to upsell and quote top dollar for everything needed, and no added concessions unless asked. There are many ways to save money while still putting on the Ritz. Negotiate every item you can think of and add more concessions (which hotels are willing to offer if requested!).
A “staff” rate (hotel terminology) for your room. Most often hotels will give the meeting planner staying overnight with the group a discounted “staff” rate.
A suite upgrade at the “staff” rate. You have papers, files, gifts and probably nothing short of a mini virtual office. It’s great to have the extra space to spread out.
Your room/suite located as close to meeting space/elevators as possible. You’ll be making many trips back and forth between the meeting space and your room; proximity is key.
Review the hotel’s occupancy report from the previous night. For example; group checks in on Monday. Tuesday morning you review the occupancy report from Monday night, especially if you are facing attrition. This is due diligence to make sure you aren’t paying for rooms you didn’t need, nor should pay for, if the hotel reached 100% occupancy.
A Pre and Post Meeting about your group set up by your conference services manager. The Pre meeting takes place the day before group arrival or the morning of arrivals to familiarize you with the executive team and the executive team with your group. The conference services manager attends as well as other department managers who service your group; reservations, front desk, banquets, audio visual, security, etc.
Pre and Post Meetings are essential. Why? To put your group on a pedestal so department managers and their teams know who you are! Otherwise, you’re just another group to a hotel. It’s a revolving door business and this extra measure will help put the spotlight on your group. Every department manager and their team who service your group will know you, your executives and guests. Become best friends with the banquet captain and work closely with her/him.
And when it’s all over, a follow up meeting is essential to go over any service situations warranting a discount, confirming final numbers for final billing, and to share with the hotel the pros or cons so they can keep striving to be the best hotel to their guests.