Faced with the challenges of curbing costs and providing attendees with special experiences, planners often negotiate for complimentary guest rooms, suite upgrades, rebooking options and other concessions while negotiating an RFP.
Hotels expect to make a few concessions in RFPs, particularly for groups booking 10 or more room nights, so it’s particularly important for planners to know about concessions that are available and how to request them. Here are five of the most important concessions, adapted from this blog.
Complimentary guest rooms: Planners often negotiate to receive one free guest room once a certain number have been booked. They might receive one free room if 50 or more are booked, for example. But it can be more advantageous to negotiate for a free room night for every multiple of 50 that is booked. So, if 200 rooms are booked, they would receive four free rooms.
Suite upgrades: Suites provide space for small gatherings and keep VIPs happy. But they’re expensive, so it’s best to negotiate. It’s reasonable to ask for ask for one suite upgrade if you’re booking 10 or more rooms, or one for every 25 rooms.
Complimentary Meeting Room Rentals: When hotels request a minimum amount to be spent on food and beverage catering, planners often successfully ask for meeting room fees to be waived.
Allowable Attrition: Last-minute no-shows are a major problem for planners and can be very costly—unless they are covered by the RFP. It’s generally not a good idea to negotiate for day-by-day attrition; rather, negotiate for cumulative attrition, which takes into account attrition during the entire stay. For instance, if you agree to a contract with day-by-day attrition for 200 rooms for four days and a 20 percent attrition rate, you would owe money if the rate exceeded 20 percent on any of those days. If you negotiated a cumulative attrition RFP, you would owe money only if the attrition rate exceeded 20 percent for all days combined.
Re-Booking Clause: Needing to cancel a meeting that has already been contracted can be a planner’s worst nightmare. But hotels often include rebooking clauses in RFPs that reduce penalties, so it’s very important to ask for them.