While sales managers are serious about building genuine and amicable relationships with you, don’t forget that group sales is still a business. Sales managers have several strategies to maximize their meeting revenue, most which fly under a meeting planner’s radar.
Here are four of those tactics you should know:
Secret #1: Hotel rates change based on your meeting space to guest rooms ratio.
Every hotel has daily revenue goals for both their guest rooms and event space. If your event requires few guest rooms, but plenty of venue space, the hotel will be left with a lot of guest rooms that they’ll have to sell to transient travelers. If it’s a slow season, they may propose a higher rate to your group to make up for those lost room profits.
Secret #2: Your group’s travel pattern can affect your rates.
The length and days of your event matter. Groups usually have a three-day meeting pattern: Check in, meet, check out. Meeting planners find the best rates with a Sunday–Wednesday or a Wednesday–Saturday pattern. If your pattern runs outside of that, you’ll throw off a hotel’s schedule. Your peak day with the highest occupancy could overlap with another group, meaning hotels may charge more for the inconvenience and the extra work involved to run the events so closely together.
Secret #3: Hotels will try to move your event if something more lucrative comes along.
A common phrase used by hotel sales leaders, especially at large hotels, is “It’s not what you sell, it’s what you move.” Meetings are booked within different booking windows, but sometimes a second meeting planner will want dates that another event has already booked. If the second event can bring in more revenue, hotel sales managers will attempt to adjust the dates of the original meeting.
One way to avoid being bumped for a more lucrative event is to work in a “no move” clause in your contract. Or, if you have flexibility, negotiate reduced F&B costs, find a lower room cost date, or have the hotel issue a dollar-for-dollar credit to your account. in exchange for moving your event.
Secret #4: Hotel discounts can lead to attrition.
It’s a common frustration. You agree to an attrition penalty with your hotel, promising that you will fulfill 80 percent of the contracted rooms. Afterwards, the hotel then promotes an even lower rate to their leisure guests, which attendees use to book their room instead of paying the group rate.
Ask for a “no lower rate” clause, which blocks the hotel from offering any rate that is lower than your contracted group rate. Make sure to do a rooms audit, matching the guest register with the event registration log to ensure you get credit for all the rooms you have supplied.
Kemp Gallineau is the CEO of Groups360, a hospitality company bringing transparency and simplicity to meetings transactions.