As you begin the process of negotiating with the meeting venue that you have chosen there are several things to keep in mind. If you are aware of the fundamentals of negotiating with a meeting venue you will be able to insure that you get what you want and feel comfortable with the end result.
1. Terms and Dollars
The terms of the contract are just as important as the dollar signs that are intermixed within. It is not only important to know what everything is going to cost but also what the words on the page mean. If you know what words like liability and attrition mean in the terms of your contract, when it is time to sign you will find that you are saving money.
You are not going to know if you could have had something included in your contract unless you ask for it. Most convention centers and meeting venues are willing to negotiate things like comp rooms and square footage but you have to be willing to discuss it.
There must be trade-offs in your contract. Never agree to give a concession without receiving one in return. Knowing this will keep your negotiation balanced and not simply one sided. The other party knows that they will have to give up something for everything that they receive from you. Be mindful of this when you are negotiating terms and concessions in your contract.
4. First Offer
There is a general rule that you should never accept the first offer. This is a good practice because if you settle with the first number that they give you, you will never know what you would be giving up. Give it some time and listen to the other party. Chances are you will find that there is plenty of room for negotiating much of the things that you need and in the end you will walk away with a signed contract that you are comfortable with.
If you wind up deadlocked on an issue it is important to set it aside and come back to it after you have agreed to other terms of the contract. Leaving the most difficult aspect until the end often works to your advantage because the process has built up steam and both sides of the negotiation have more flexibility.
6. Unwritten Rules
There are four unwritten rules of negotiating. When you are in the process of coming to an agreement consider each of these rules, you may find that they are helpful as you come to the end result.
The first rule to consider is “power.” This consists of your ability to do things in the way that you see will have a favorable outcome. Look for advantages with the competition and work with things that give you the power to negotiate things that are comfortable to you.
The time that it takes to “seal the deal” is the second unwritten rule. Most negotiations happen in the last ten percent of the time that you take while working out an agreement. This gives you an edge if you are able to take the time to work out the deal. Having flexibility and the ability to spend a few extra moments will help this to work in your favor.
The third unwritten rule is “knowledge.” If you go into the negotiation armed with the knowledge, expertise and information that surrounds the items that you need and what the meeting facility has to offer you will have a better chance of reaching an agreement that suites you.
Having leverage in your agreement options will give you the ability to work with what is being offered. This rule allows you to make the venue want your business and thus give you terms that you are in agreement with.
When you are negotiating, it is important to acknowledge the other person’s feelings without backing down on your desires. If you use the feel, felt, found technique to understand what the other person is feeling toward the negotiation terms you will have a better chance of reaching an agreement that you are satisfied with.
8. Up and Down
If you create a “vise” that will allow you to push the price range up and down in your favor you will often find that what you want is obtainable. If the other party names a price, you will have the ability to counter offer saying something like, “you’ll have to do better than that.”
9. The Relationship
It is imperative that the relationship between you and the meeting personnel still stand once the negotiations have ended. Avoid arguments that will prevent you from doing business in the future with this facility or venue.
10. Walking Away
If you find that something is just not negotiable and you are not happy with it, you have to have the ability to walk away from the deal. You must give yourself options in the event that this should happen.
There are several fundamental principles to consider when negotiating with a meeting venue. You must always ask for what you want, be flexible and have the ability to walk away if you are unhappy. Knowing how to negotiate and what your options are will create a final contract that you are comfortable with and that meets your needs.
What should you do next?
Since you are planning a meeting, learn the golden rules of negotiating with a hotel for a room block. You’re guaranteed to save money!