How To Negotiate With Hotels For A Block Of Rooms

With Linda David Pat and BexAre you worried about negotiating hotel room rates and amenities for wedding guests?

Does the thought of negotiating make you anxious?

Well, it shouldn’t.

Most people think a negotiation has to be adversarial

A sort of zero sum game where someone has to lose for someone to win.

The reality, however, is very different. Effective negotiators take the attitude that you have to work together with the other side in order to get to a solution that works for both parties.

In fact, people who are anxious going into a negotiation often compound their mistakes by responding too fast, exiting situations too early and accepting inferior offers.

Why?

Because they want to get out of there and go on with their lives

They want to rush through the negotiations just to take it off their checklist.

What most people don’t know is that negotiating with a hotel is actually a very simple process that, if done correctly, will yield tremendous benefits for you and your wedding guests. You just have to go in prepared.

How do you “prepare” to negotiate with a hotel?

There are three parts to any negotiation with a hotel. Read them over and you will find yourself feeling more prepared and confident about discussing group rates and amenities with any hotel.

The three components are:

  1. Things you need to know before you start to negotiate
  2. Things you need you need to know during the negotiation
  3. A list of things you should not do during the negotiation

Let’s start with the first one on the list

Things you need to know before you start to negotiate

Know what you want
The worst thing you can do is walk into a hotel without knowing what you want out of the negotiation. Take a look at the list below and decide on which of these amenities is most important to you. Knowing what you want before walking in to negotiate will prove to be quite advantageous.

  • Shuttle Service – this is a big one
  • Free internet – believe it or not, some hotels still charge for this
  • Distribution of your goody bags at check in
  • Restaurant perks
  • Complimentary room for bride and groom
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Private time for pool party
  • Complimentary meeting room for your guests to hang out in.

Be ready to ask
Often, the problem with negotiating with hotels is that most people are scared to ask for a discount. Most people have a tough time overcoming the fear of the negotiating process and much prefer to avoid it altogether.

They would rather give up and pay more just to avoid getting into an awkward situation of having to actually ask for a discount. But the fact is that negotiating does not have to be awkward. You just have to be willing to ask and see where it leads.

Know the decision maker
Get to know who the decision maker is. Often you will find yourself wasting valuable time talking to someone who does not have the authority to concede anything. Ask your salesperson (politely) if they are authorized to make the final decision. If they are not, then ask to speak to that person instead.

Things you need to know during the negotiation

Learn this phrase
“Is there a more affordable option?”

Hotel salespeople are trained to offer you what is in their best interest. You have to be aware of that and be willing to ask for options that are more to your liking. Know that the salesperson wants to close the sale since his/her commission depends on it.

In the process of negotiating, if you come across something that you do not like, learn to say “Wow, that’s not what I was expecting”. Instead of quietly thinking that you will get to it later, let the salesperson know that this issue will be sticking point right up front.

Your mystery decision maker
While you are talking, establish that you are not the final decision maker on your end. This will come in handy later when you are asking for something that the hotel does not provide regularly. You can say something like “Oh, I wish my fiancée was here as well since I have to run things by her/him before finalizing things”.

Always wait for the hotel to make an offer
Hotel salespeople are trained to ask a simple but dangerous question. “What is your budget?” Do not under any circumstances answer that question as it will influence all future negotiation.

If you give them a dollar amount that you are comfortable with, then the hotel salesperson will use that number as a starting point for the negotiation.

Instead, it’s best for you to respond with something like “I’m not sure since I have not talked to the other three hotels on my list. Once I have all the offers, I will then compare them side by side to see what the best deal is for us”.

Time is your friend
This is true in any negotiation. If you go into a negotiation thinking you just want it to be over with, then you (or your guests, in this case) will overpay.

Be prepared to meet several times and do not take the first offer. Also, let them know up front that you are shopping around at three to four hotels and that you will select the hotel that offers the best package.

In subsequent meetings, ask for additional concessions based on what other hotels are offering you. By having several meetings to close the deal, you get the salesperson to invest additional time and energy into the deal.

The more time he/she invests into your event, the easier it will be to get additional concessions in the future.

What Not To Do During A Negotiation

Don’t go for it all
In conversing with the hotel over room rates or amenities, you do not want to start the meeting off with something like “I want the rate to be knocked down an X amount and I want free shuttle service, free breakfast, and late checkouts for all my guests. If you can’t do all those, then I am not interested in talking any further”.

This will not get you anywhere. Instead, try some of the following techniques.

Don’t lay out all your cards
If you know what you bring to the table, you will have an easier time negotiating for hotel rates and amenities. For example, if you are paying for all the hotel rooms for your guests, don’t offer that information up front. Get a quote from the hotel and then during negotiations, ask to see if the hotel will offer a bigger discount if you pay for all the rooms in advance. Hotels will generally offer a much steeper discount if they know how many rooms will be used and paid for.

Don’t let the other party feel abused or scammed
Hotel negotiations are only possible if both people feel they’re getting something out of it. If one of the parties involved feels abused, or doesn’t like you, they will not concede much. Stay away from trying to be loud and losing your cool as most people hate bullies, and will be more than willing to walk away. Make the transaction a win-win for both.

Don’t get emotionally involved
If you get only one thing out of this, just remember to always be willing to walk-away.

More negotiating tips

  1. Ask for more than you expect to get
  2. Be respectful when you negotiate. Never take advantage of the other person and never get rude.
  3. Let them believe the final decision doesn’t rest with you
  4. Don’t act too interested
  5. Don’t get suckered by the “rules”

What should you do next?

Take a look at our FAQ page where we have listed the most common questions brides have asked about getting a block of rooms at a hotel.

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