Keep in mind that everything impacts the bottom line. What may seem like an insignificant request does come with a cost.
Here are five questions you should be asking. Better to ask about cost and negotiate upfront than be hit with a huge bill at the end of the conference.
1. Meeting rooms. Everyone says they would prefer to not pay for meeting room rental with food and beverage expenses. That may not be realistic in today’s economy. Consider the costs to operate a venue: power, labour, cleaning, and furnishing.
2. Power. It’s not free. Hotels are adding charges for use of electrical outlets in meeting rooms regardless of who or what plugs in. Consider the amount of power a meeting or tradeshow will use.
3. Upgrades, comps, concessions. There is a real cost to any facility or vendor for concessions (discounts on equipment, services, labour) and for upgrades, or complimentary use of, premium rooms.
4. “Plus Plus Plus” for labor, taxes, and administrative charges. It used to be plus tax and plus gratuity. Now it’s usually “+++” and the pluses of service (not gratuity), and administrative charges are taxed in most venues. Factor in all the “pluses” (including tax) to any pricing. Unlike guest rooms, there may be far less ‘wiggle room’ for venues to negotiate food prices.
5. Beverages. When planners say they are “just serving water” so there should not be an additional cost; please consider the cost of labour and equipment costs. Water itself has a cost. As for sodas, alcohol, juices and other beverages, consider the same issues you do with food.