How to Negotiate the Best Hotel Rate for Your Event

6 Ways to Negotiate a Lower Price For Your Event

negotiate the best hotel rate

Planning an event?  Exciting!  Negotiating with the hotel?  Perhaps not so exciting.  Maybe even a little stressful.  It is understandable. The venue is often the biggest line item in the event planning budget.  So prepare for your first meeting and follow these tips to help you negotiate the best hotel rate for your event.

6 Ways To Negotiate The best Hotel Rate

Know What you Want and Know What You Need

Before stepping foot into the meeting, determine exactly what you need for your event.  This includes space requirements, room accommodations, and food and beverage.  Then determine what you want.  When negotiating the best hotel rate for your event, everything is a negotiation. Take the time to figure out what you are willing to give up and what you are willing to pay for those things you cannot do without. 

Knowledge is Power

Research other venues in the vicinity and find out what they offer and their rates.  You need to know about the competition so that you can negotiate the best hotel rate for your event.  Keep in mind that if a venue is in high demand, they can command higher prices and may be less likely to negotiate with you.

(Don’t) “Show Me the Money”

When negotiating, as when playing poker, don’t show your cards.  During your first meeting, the hotel manager, in addition to asking the desired date and scope of the event, will ask for your budget.

  Do not disclose this right away!  Instead, indicate you are still working on your budget and ask for their standard rates for the time being.  Unless you have worked with the venue before and have a relationship with them, expect to see their top pricing. Use that as your starting point and work down to negotiate the best hotel rate for your event.

  Never accept the first price you are given.

Make Yourself Desirable

Hotels are in business to make money.  Their goal is to book the venue for as many days as possible in the year.  Make them want your business.  Demonstrate your success by discussing any previous similar events, including the number of attendees, the size of the room block and the total spend.  If you can be seen as a reliable source of revenue and possibly a source of continued business, that will put you in a better position to negotiate the best rate for your event.

Be Flexible

Whenever possible, be flexible.  Provide a few potential dates for your event – the hotel may have openings around your target date that they are looking to fill and thus may offer you discounted pricing for those dates.  See if you can get better rates by working around their peak demand times.  A Friday wedding may cost significantly less than one held on a Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Overestimate

When it comes to headcounts, don’t overestimate.  Most hotels request minimums for food and beverage and the room block.  A high count will lead to a higher estimate for both of these. 

Avoid locking into a guaranteed minimum spend for catering and rooms as this can translate into paying penalties if you do not meet the minimums.

Once you are satisfied that all of your terms are met, read the fine print on the contracts.  Do not sign anything until you are in agreement with everything specified.   In a good negotiation, both parties should feel that they got something they wanted.  Make sure you do not walk away from the table empty handed.