Companies book hotel meeting spaces for a variety of different purposes. Here are a few helpful tips for what to look out for when you are booking space at hotels for your own meeting.
As the President of the Information Marketing Association, I host a monthly coaching call for info-marketers who have questions and are trying to launch their infopreneur business. Here is a question from Scott in St. Louis, Missouri about what to look out for when booking meeting space at hotels. Since this is a common question, I decided to prepare an article about this challenge to help you.
There are a couple of the key issues that hotels are going to look for an attrition clause. Hotels are in the business of selling sleeping rooms and while they do have meeting spaces at hotels, the only reason they have that meeting space is so that they have the ability to sell sleeping rooms for the people attending the meetings. As a promoter, we want their space by guaranteeing the fewest number of rooms possible, however, they as a hotel, want to give their meeting space up only to people who will book as much sleeping space as possible. When you get the contract or when you engage in the discussion, the first thing they're going to ask you is, how much space do you need and how many rooms are you going to book? And based on that equation, they'll figure out if they're going to give you any kind of discounts on rooms. And then when they give you the contract, their going to ask for you to book a certain number of rooms. If you don't book that number, then you're liable to pay them for those rooms whether anybody slept in them or not. Then they're also going to ask you for a food and beverage minimum. This is the amount of food, coffee, lunch, and things of the like that you buy are all going to be factored into that original contract. Some of the provisions and then there is going to be a cancellation provision. That's the third thing that you really need to think about.
Now in terms of the attrition, a couple of years ago it was difficult to get any hotel contract without a real aggressive attrition penalty in it. Now, that is less and less the case and I find that hotels are more open to negotiating those terms.
The other issue you must consider is the amount of the food and beverage the hotel will require you to buy in order to use the meeting space at the hotel. The thing that surprises most people, is when you buy say $5,000.00 worth of food and beverage, that is plus service charge and plus sales tax. That's like another twenty-eight percent that you'll have to pay on top of that. If you look at the contract and think, "Okay five thousand dollars food and beverage will do great. That's all I have to spend. That's my budget." Well, that five thousand is actually five thousand minimum food and beverage plus tax plus gratuity, so that ends up being closer to $6,500.00.