Investigate. Communicate. Negotiate.
**Reversed Hefty Group Lodging Deposit Requirement
For an annual meeting being held at a university, the housing contract required that the total cost of the rooms be pre-paid by the Association, in the amount of $58,000. Additionally, the university was not equipped to accept individual reservations and charge individual credit cards. For their meeting space, the Association was responsible to pre-pay it, in the amount of $11,000.
From our perspective, paying $11,000 for the meeting space could cover the housing reservations as well. After working up the chain of command of the university's conference services department, the Director agreed that the $11,000 could cover both the meeting space and the housing. In addition, based on the university's undeveloped booking capabilities, it was agreed that we would book and charge lodging through our registration software and provide a rooming list of names and credit card numbers to the university at 60 days and 30 days out from the conference start date.
**Re-planned a Cancelled Meeting
After a year of planning and one year before the conference, the property decided to cancel the entire meeting contract and leave us to decide what to do with the meeting that had been announced and advertised for some months. With careful negotiations, we were able to find another set of dates that worked for the resort and reinstate the conference with those dates.
We negotiated for lower attrition rates, discounted rates on the most popular room types, rebate on condos, a hosted reception by the resort, comp meeting room rental, and pipe and drape provided at no cost as compensation for the cancellation.
We were able to successfully negotiate for almost $20,000 in savings for the conference and successfully marketed the new set of dates resulting in a better than expected attendance despite the cancellation and change of dates.
**Highlights of Shopping and Negotiations for Substantial Food & Beverage and AV Contracts
Highlight 1: A client who has been doing regular conferences twice a year at the same resort for many years got the banquet prices for their summer meeting which were much higher than the winter meeting. The price increases had averaged 5% between each meeting. This increase was 7% - 125% increases with an average of 32% increase. We compiled a history of pricing and average increases to use in negotiations with the resort. We came to the agreement of a standard 5% increase between each conference and they dropped the pricing for the summer conference down to where it should have been resulting in a savings of $5000.
By adding a group discount with a code that can be entered during online registration and the discount applied automatically, we increased attendance by 70 – 100 people per meeting.
Highlight 2: This Association's hotel property was union and we had 300 speakers, several breakouts, and an automated speaker ready room. The first bid from in-house (a high end national chain) came in at $329,000. We worked through 4 companies, union reps and 7 revised bids with the in house for a total of 11 bids.
The result: we were able to get the national provider (in house) final services down to $119,000.
**Workshop Costs This highly specialized conference features hands-on workshops involving real-life scenarios in the world of emergency medicine. One 8-hour ultrasound workshop features 8 stations with procedure demonstrations using Ultrasound machines, equipment and live models. Each station is equipped with linens for the models. The hotel’s initial housekeeping charges came in at $450/day. We were able to negotiate the cost down to $200/day.