As a savvy business leader, you know the value of spending time and energy negotiating a good deal. Whether you are buying or selling on behalf of your company, you look to extract the highest value out of your relationships. As a professional Event Planner, I follow the same guiding principles – extracting the most value to deliver the best experience for my clients. It seems straightforward: a discount on the rack rate for hotel rooms, or a break on the cost of a per plate meal; yet professional event planners know how to dig deeper with vendors to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Goals and Objectives
When we first meet, we discuss goals and objectives of the event - higher employee satisfaction, client development, etc. In addition, I want to understand negotiable items and deal breakers that are important to you. Using these pieces of information, I can then look at potential vendors, and dig into the contract details that are most likely going to deliver that unique value and objective.
How does that come to life in event negotiations? In the early stages of proposals, vendors and venues present seemingly attractive package deals to demonstrate their eagerness to do business. Based on our initial discussion, I can negotiate the proposals to find concessions to best fit your needs. One venue offered free onsite parking - sounded like a great deal, all the guests would be flying into the area, and using group transportation. I declined that offer, and successfully counter-offered with a request for free daily Wi-Fi in guest rooms instead. If there are predominantly local attendees, the negotiation focus is on discounted or complimentary valet parking. With a packed meeting agenda let’s remove barriers that keep people from arriving on time.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
Special requests may be an important factor with VIP attendees. That’s right - riders aren’t just for celebrities and rock stars! If you work with a client or executive who is quite particular in their hospitality needs, I can make sure that their favorite brand of soda or beer is available 24X7, or their suite on the club floor is stocked with snacks of their preference. What may seem trivial will make their experience more memorable than what your competition offers - I know how to make those details come to life through negotiations.
How to Negotiate What’s out of our Control?
Do you request force majeure? Did you know you can even negotiate cancellations/reschedules based on inclement weather? A force majeure clause is included in contracts to specifically spell out what happens in case of an earthquake, hurricane, act of terrorism or other major events. Cancellations, rescheduling, and refunds are all part of everyday negotiations I do on behalf of clients.
In my years of experience, I’ve learned that nearly everything within a contract for an event is negotiable; the trick is to understand what is most important to my client.
There’s nothing worse than working hard to host a customer event and your biggest competitor is hosting a meeting or worse, recruiting event, down the hall of the same venue. A Conflict of Interest clause is a necessity to include in contracts to avoid these situations. Acquisitions and mergers are common in the hospitality industry. By including a “change of flag “clause, I make sure you have the ability cancel if the hotel changes from a well-known Tier One Brand such as Ritz Carlton to a brand that you don’t feel aligns with your event and company’s image.
I’ve negotiated hundreds of venue and service provider contracts on behalf of my clients, and each one is unique. I know what trade-offs come at a price and which ones can be nearly free. My job is to make sure that you are focusing on your goals and objectives – not only meeting the food and beverage minimum! Leave these kinds of details to an experienced professional planner like KOB Event Solutions.
Do you have questions about working with a professional planner, but don’t have anyone to talk to? Send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org . I can answer any questions or address concerns about working with a planner from KOB Event Solutions. Interesting conversations and initial consultations are always complimentary- let me help you get started towards achieving your event goals!