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Negotiating a Contract

Event Planning And The Art of Venue Contract Negotiation (Part II): What Can You Negotiate?

In our last post, we covered all of the elements of a contract.  The next stage in reviewing a contract is understanding the key costs involved in hosting your event, and beginning the negotiation process.

When negotiating terms of the agreement, everything is negotiable — well, almost everything.

Contract negotiations are based on the total business value the meeting represents to the venue or any provider.  The greater the perceived potential revenue, the more leverage you will have to receive better rates and concessions.

Below are the key items that you can negotiate on:

I)               Food and beverage

  • Contractual minimum
  • Slippage/sliding scale
  • Outlet’s revenue taken into account towards your F&B
  • Discounted pricing for different events or staff meals
  • Reduced corkage fees

II)             Room block – Guest rooms

  • Discounted room rates (significantly less than rack rate/published rate)
  • Discounted rooms for staff
  • A number of complimentary nights based on room block – 1 night for every 40 nights
  • Cumulative room block  — Very important!  Not having this agreed upon CAN cost you attrition post-event
  • Shoulder dates – Discounted rates available 2-3 days before and after your event
  • Discounted suites for guests –  Upgrades at standard room rate
  • Guest room block slippage (avoiding the dirtiest word of all: attrition)
  • Amenities–typically of the venue’s choice–for your VIP guests
  • Parking fees
  • Complimentary turn down service
  • Free internet for guests attending your event 

III)            Meeting space

  • Room rental
  • Room set up labor
  • 24 hour hold of your space
  • Audio visual discount for in-house provider
  • No fee for using an outside provider

IV)           Miscellaneous Opportunities/Services

  • Ground transport
  • Onsite equipment at no charge, such as easels, white boards, etc.
  • Spa or golf discounts, if applicable

The next post will cover more details on understanding the legal terms in a contract.

Do you have any additional points to consider for all of us event planners out there?