hotel meeting

Best Hotel Contract Negotiation Tips for Event Planners

Event planning is frequently portrayed as a glamorous profession complete with enjoyable trips, parties, and tasks. Unfortunately, those are the least significant things we undertake as event planners, though we wish we could do that. Our true strengths lie in negotiating hotel contracts and building rapport with customers and suppliers.

Knowing the worth of our event and how to sell it to venues and sponsors allow us to save thousands of dollars. While it may not be the most glamorous aspect of the job, it is unquestionably one of the most crucial. As a result, contract negotiation is always near the top of any event planner job posting.

Contracts are complex, and the negotiation process can seem overwhelming, but here are some contract negotiation tips to help you negotiate like a pro.

hotel meeting

What Should Be Included in An Event Planning Contract?

contract signing

If there is one thing about this pandemic we know for sure, it is that it will be unpredictable. It should be obvious by this point that contract flexibility is important, and that both event planners and their vendor partners should be aware of this.

If you've only recently begun hiring event spaces, you're probably already aware of the numerous new clauses, rules, regulations, and requirements to take into account.

Following are some essential considerations and points to bring up in your contract negotiations:

  • Effect of pandemic or epidemic on hotel cancellation policy

Indicate the precise inputs that could result in a cancellation as part of the contract's pandemic cancellation option. Does a cancellation necessitate the implementation of new rules or lockdowns by the local government? Alternatively, can your company create its own metrics, such as case volume or hospitalization rates?

  • Extended rebooking terms, force majeure clause, and partial attendance due to travel restrictions

Look into the required timeline for rebooking, and the hotel cancellation policy if your desired rebooking date is not available. Determine whether the local hotel will accept a reschedule if attendees from another country are prohibited from traveling. Check your alternatives for reducing room blocks.

  •  Deposits

A crucial negotiating point is to lower the amount of your non-refundable deposit. Request a lower initial deposit if your event is more likely to be canceled than rescheduled.

  • Attendee-to-staff ratio

In order to handle stricter rules like health protocols, venues might need to hire more staff. Recognize the potential effects on your budget as well as your options in the event that regulations change before or during your event.

  • PPE supplies

Check to see if items like masks and hand sanitizer are provided as complimentary items or if you need to bring your own.

7 Hotel Concessions Every Event Planner Should Negotiate

negotiating contract

Although hotel contracts may seem intimidating, if you are aware of the possible concessions, you can assist your clients in avoiding paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses.

1. Low Attrition Rate

luxury bedroom

This is certainly the contract negotiation tips you should not ignore. If you're planning a large event, a hotel room block for your attendees will almost certainly need to be contracted and negotiated. A room block is a certain number of hotel rooms booked specifically for use by your attendees.

Now, let's discuss attrition. The hotel attrition clause refers to the portion of your room block that must be filled by the cutoff date, which is typically 30 days out. Any unsold rooms after the cutoff date will be charged at the agreed-upon rate multiplied by the number of nights reserved.

You might be able to avoid filling up every room, depending on the terms of your hotel contract. Don't accept anything less than the 20% allowed attrition of rooms.

2. Sleeping Room Nights

hotel room

In addition to a low attrition rate for your hotel room block, negotiate 1 complimentary sleeping room for every 40 rooms that your attendees reserve. A complimentary hotel room should be requested for the event planner so that they can stay for the duration of the event. Always ask, even if they don't always agree.

3. Internet


Request free Wi-Fi in all group sleeping rooms. It may be difficult to obtain complimentary Wi-Fi throughout your event space, but ask for complimentary connections or negotiate a lower rate than the hotel quotes.

4. Meeting Space

coffee shop

Request that meeting space rentals be waived if you intend to order a large amount of food and beverages. Avoid paying for a meeting space if at all possible. Spend your client's money on items that will improve the attendees' experience.

In addition to contract negotiation tips, you may want to consider these cost-cutting ideas (as long as your hotel venue allows you).

Contact your favorite caterer for your guests' meals. If you need linen tablecloth and banquet chair covers for your buffet (or for the entire event), contact a seasoned event supplies provider like CV Linens, which can offer huge discounts for bulk orders.

5. Parking

vacant parking lot

Many hotels will charge a fee for valet and self-parking. Negotiate as many complimentary parking passes as possible from the hotel, particularly for your event staff. Also, try to bargain for a reduction in parking fees for your guests.

6. Hosted Reception

sweet pastries

Some hotels will agree to host a free cocktail reception. You could even try to negotiate one free drink ticket or free dessert for each of your attendees.

7. Reward Points

gift voucher

Rewards points are a common feature of hotels. Hotels value returning customers and will compensate both the client and the event planner. Make an effort to convince the hotel to apply the reward points for your client's entire hotel master bill. If the hotel declines, request for double or triple points. If you are organizing multiple events, try to book them at the same hotel chain to earn more reward points. Save thousands of dollars and quickly rack up more points.

Best Practices in Negotiating Hotel Contracts

signing contract

Determine your Event Purpose

Establishing the event's purpose is the first step in the planning process. There should always be a clear and distinct purpose, whether it is for a wedding, conference, or fundraiser.

Make certain the hotels are aware of your goals right away. They will be able to understand your objectives and tell you how they can help. Include them into your RFPs or Requests for Proposals.

Prioritize Site Visit

Site visits are time-consuming, but they help everyone get to know one another before the event. Additionally, it offers the venue a chance to anticipate potential problems.

To maximize your time on a site:
  • Provide an event timeline

  • Provide details for the event's F&B needs

  • Bring along your audio-visual supplier

  • Make and share an event diagram

  • Communicate event details

Establish Your Budget Prior To Planning

As you are putting together your RFP, ask to see the venue’s menus, AV pricing, and outside vendors, etc. Utilize them to make a budget and assess your situation. Then, you'll know what kind of discounts you'll want to negotiate.

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask

No matter how small the detail or the concession is, don’t be afraid to ask. For instance, you can ask and negotiate the 15-20% hotel attrition clause, the policies governing last-minute cancellations, or the discounts offered for using the on-site spa.

Ask any questions you may have about your contract or the services you received without hesitation. If you have any doubts, speak up.

Your Event Needs Beyond Contract Negotiation Tips

Whether you are a bride-to-be, event party planner, wedding planner or simply looking to decorate for an upcoming event, decorating for special events is easy and more affordable when you shop at CV Linens!

We have everything you need, from helping you get the best round tablecloths and charger plates in bulk to event draping. Our products will surely bring your event to another level!

Located in Austin, Texas we are just a short drive away from party planners in Dallas, San Antonio, and the Houston area. We also ship nationwide with shipping options as fast as next-day deliveries!

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