Part of a meeting planner's job is to negotiate effectively with their event suppliers. Everything from hotel room blocks to renting audio visual equipment needs to be negotiated, contracted and signed off several months before the meeting. 

However, with so much to do, this process can be overwhelming. And many planners think they need to conduct negotiations like a lawyer or an used car salesperson. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are better alternatives. Below are 5 tips to make the process easier.


Tip #1: Let Your Event Meeting Services Organizations Know the Deadlines. 

Spelling out everything from Day 1, will make this process more manageable. Letting them know when the RFP is due, when you will make the first and second cuts, and when a final decision will be made, keeps everyone on the same page. Don't allow for 11th hour offerings because they just muddy the waters. 

Tip #2: List Your Must Haves, Like to Haves, and Nice to Haves. 

By providing your supplier with such a listing, you can stay focused on the things you must have to conduct your meeting. One example might be the following: 

You must have 500 rooms for 2-nights at no more than $125/night and all rooms must be at the same hotel. 
You would like to have 1 room comped for every 50 rooms reserved. 
It would be nice to have your VIPs upgraded to suites at no additional cost to the attendee if the block is met. 


Tip #3: Look the Part. 

Come to the negotiation table looking very professional. Break out your best suit and be well groomed. Looking good will help you exude confidence even if you are feeling nervous when you step into the room. 

Tip #4: Try for a Win-Win Strategy.

Lawyers and purchasing agents are primed with the attitude of "Win-Lose". They want to get the most for their clients and they don't really care if the other side is hurt or left with little profitability in the process. But this isn't how it needs to be. 

Ask a lot of questions, take notes and listen. Be nice and respectful. Remember, you don't have to make a decision at the table and neither does your event partner. Remind them of your deadline and give them enough time to work it through their chain of command. In the end, remember they need to make a profit too in order to stay in business. 

Tip #5: Don't Negotiate with Yourself. 

You have the RFP response in your hand so you know what the supplier has quoted and it is still too high. Let them know what pricing you are looking for and then sit there and shut up. Let them come up with a counter-offer and see if that will meet your budgetary needs. If you are still worlds apart, consider ending the negotiation and move onto another supplier. 

AV Event Solutions is a California meeting equipment company that is ready and willing to work with you toward a "win-win" solution for your next meeting, training, or product launching event. Check out their express quote page to get started!