The Secrets To Getting Affordable Event Pricing at Big Hotels 

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From family reunions and weddings to corporate meetings, there are times when you may need to rent out big blocks of rooms, as well as conference and dining rooms to accommodate an event of some scale. The bigger the name of the hotel, the more likely it is you’ll pay a higher price for these events. However, according to experts, there are some ways to negotiate a better rate than usual with the following strategies.

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Do Your Research

Go into your negotiation with the hotel armed with as much knowledge as you can, says Sarah Jameson, Marketing Director of Green Building Elements.     

Often, the savings are off the hotel’s regular fee,” she said. “You may look up what they charge the average traveler on the internet. What difference does it make if they give you a 50% discount if people on bargain travel sites are still obtaining lower rates than your guests? I witnessed this happen last week with a conference block of rooms costing guests $50 more than the rate for guests who went directly to the hotel site. Pull up the data on room pricing that you’ve been tracking and discuss it with the salesperson when negotiating the rooms.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Opt for Shorter Stays

Shorter stays may make it simpler to negotiate better rates, said Daniel Carter, SEO Manager at LUCAS Products & Services. “Asking a hotel to block 100 rooms at a discounted rate for a week is more difficult for them than two nights in the midst of the week,” he said.

Get To Know the Managers

The human connection matters, even when it comes to hotel pricing, Carter said. “Get to know the managers at local hotels that you frequent. Develop a relationship to earn better pricing. Also, pretend you’re not the final decision-maker. The first question most hotels will ask is what your budget or ticket price is. They want to know what you expect, so they start negotiating there. If you’re asked that question, deflect it by stating, “We haven’t completed it yet. Some of this will be determined by the accommodation quotes we obtain. But I need to secure the greatest cost for my participants because they’re a pretty frugal bunch.” This provides you more time to analyze the quote and helps you to simply avoid financial concerns.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Ask for Perks if No Discount

If you can’t quite get the rate you’re looking for, consider asking for other perks, said Hassan Usmani, tech expert at YEELIGHT. “What can they add or cut if they can’t lower the rates? Is there no resort fee? Is there free parking? Free room upgrades for the first 50 bookings? Some things are easier to include than others, such as lowering the room rate.”

Additionally, he suggested mentioning that your attendees are more interested in value above all else. “Attendees who are value-conscious are not motivated by brands. Ascertain that the hotel understands the need of providing the best value to them. Don’t conceive of room negotiations as a task to be completed as quickly as possible. It’s advantageous to establish a positive relationship with the person in charge. Consider bargaining as a time-consuming activity. Make a timetable for yourself that corresponds to that concept.”

Negotiate in Person

You may have a better chance of getting a good deal if you negotiate in person, or at the least, over the phone, said Carter. “Emails and forms aren’t as personal, and it’s easier for the other side to say no. They may convince you that internet communication is more efficient, but they will negotiate over the phone or in-person as much and as long as possible.”

Ask for Your Biggest Want First

Carter suggested you negotiate for the thing you want most–most likely the rooms–and then move on to other perks. “Don’t ask for the cheapest accommodation cost, shuttle service, free WiFi or a free private pool party. Concentrate on what you want more (the room), and once that’s negotiated, ask if it includes free WiFi. It’s easier for them to say yes or agree to toss it in at that stage, when it’s only a modest addition, than when you’re asking for the world.”

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Use Your Connections

It helps to know people in almost any circumstance, but especially when negotiating for lower rates, said Bob Scott, founder of Sell Land in Missouri. “The easiest route to gain discounts on event pricing is if you know a person from the inside…ask around your network if they know someone from the hotels to pull you a favor. Based on my experience, having a friend of a friend for these kinds of needs is important to gain leverage. Aside from getting a discount, this is also a way for you to be introduced to people who can be beneficial for your business.” 

Go Boutique

If the big name hotels just aren’t producing the kind of rates you can afford, consider going to a smaller hotel or boutique hotel instead, because they usually have more room for price negotiation than the larger chain hotels do, said Brian Donovan, CEO of TimeShatter

“If smaller boutique hotels aren’t an option, then go to the larger chain hotels with a plan to book with them in the future, assuming they give you a good enough discount the first go around.  Hotels are more willing to give a better discount if they know you’ll be a consistent income source for them in the future.”

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

 

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