When searching multiple cities or countries for an upcoming meeting, pay close attention to added taxes that will increase the guest room rate & other costs substantially.
Just like shopping for goods and services, taxes are not typically included in pricing. The same holds true for hotels. And furthermore, taxes are also added to resort fees, meeting room rental, parking, food & beverage, etc. As a meeting planner it pays to create a budget spreadsheet as a cost comparison guideline to avoid sticker shock when paying the final bill.

For example, a $199 guest room rate at a hotel in Oakland CA may sound pretty good until you add the $29 resort fee and 14% tax for a per night room rate of $260. If your group has 75 guest rooms for 3 nights you’re paying $13,500 in room taxes.

The next categories to consider when selecting a hotel is the tax on room rental. A $500 per day room rental garners $70 in taxes making that meeting room $570 per day. The same holds true for food & beverage; a $50 buffet breakfast that adds 14% tax and 24% gratuity makes that buffet breakfast $70 per person. Taxes will be added to audio visual rentals and parking, too.

Every city and state, and every country has added taxes that are incurred by your group so it pays to inquire from the beginning to be aware of the costs of every meeting item your group will need. When comparing cities or countries side-by-side on a spreadsheet you’ll quickly see locations that may tip the scale and then you can avoid those destinations if budget is a deciding factor.

There are several ways to negotiate cost savings when planning meetings; taxes are not on that list and are mandatory. Knowing what items are taxable and at what % is key to staying on top of your budget when planning meetings.