Well done! You have convinced your colleagues and members to allow you to book a non-traditional date for your meeting. It’s not easy to change tradition. Here are some ways to get the most for your money now that you have the flexibility to do so:
1. Contact the Destination Management Organizations / Convention Service Bureaus for the cities you are considering. They have the inside track on “need” weeks and when the best possible deal can be struck.
2. In most destinations, having the peak guestroom arrival on a Sunday night will help you get a good guestroom rate. While some organizations have difficulty convincing people to travel on weekends think of some creative ways of countering this attitude.
3. During peak convention seasons you will often pay a premium for everything at your venue, whereas in shoulder months a lot more is on the table for negotiation. Meeting room rental, AV, and internet are some of the things that are a possibility.
4. Ask your sales person if there are any promotions or “Hot Date” specials. They are not always offered unless you ask. Many major hotel brands have quarterly promotions which offer some great savings and value-adds such as rebates to master billed room and at times complimentary receptions and a more favourable complimentary room policy.
5. When negotiating, think about what means more to your organization’s bottom line and tell the prospective venue about it. The hotel might believe that they stand a greater chance of getting your business by focusing more on the room rates while not knowing that lessening your meeting rental is of much greater importance to you. In a perfect world you will have negotiated a great deal on guestrooms and meeting space but you might have to choose.