After 36 years and thousands of amazing events, we know a few things about contract negotiations. For most event planners, contracts are either a bane of existence or a boon of endorphins, but a negotiation necessity, nonetheless. From a venue’s perspective, here’s a bit of what we’ve learned that you may find helpful:
Price before Planning
Every event has a budget and maximizing every dollar is the goal. Start by requesting a full list of AV, catering, and production options with associated costs. GWCC is unique among convention centers by having in-house, fully staffed and equipped AV and catering operations while many facilities require outside third party vendors to complete the event’s needs. In-house and third-party services each have advantages, but understanding the facility’s full capabilities and costs will help create a better budget and a better experience.
Ask for the freebies before they’re offered. Even the simplest “complimentary” request can help stretch an event’s budget. For example, if tables and chairs are listed as an additional cost, ask if those items can be provided at no-charge — it’s an easy accommodation that frees up dollars for other (more fun!) event perks.
Flexibility is your friend
Nearly all event venues and hotels have need dates — calendar days with no bookings that may be available at negotiable rates or with additional incentives for groups willing to fill the gap. If your event is flexible on dates, ask for a list of need dates at the beginning of negotiations — it usually works to everyone’s advantage.
Similarly, dream big and ask for everything! Event managers like to stretch their creative wings to help make every event magical and memorable within budget. The challenges often require out-of-the-box thinking but are definitely worth the rewards. Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no,” so don’t be shy! We want to hear your ideas.
Know your event’s value
Most events are more than podiums and presentations. The number of guests, room nights, space revenues, and estimated community impact (dining, shopping, gas purchases, and external event participation) can influence your customized event package. Consider a venue’s proximity and accessibility to supplemental experiences. The more your group can embrace the venue’s setting and offerings, the more opportunity the venue has to help generate a memorable event within budget.
What about “No” Negotiations
Some items on your event list will be non-negotiable, and that is perfectly acceptable. Be upfront about the must-haves and explain why they’re important. This is especially essential in initial conversations and site tours to help determine if a facility has the capacity, capability, and creative solutions your organization requires. Everything is negotiable but a contract agreement needs to benefit both parties. Even after exploring all the options, it’s okay to accept if a venue isn’t the right fit. Either way, you have a new connection that may be the perfect solution down the road.
We’re here to answer your questions and help you make smart decisions and good memories. Contact one of our Sales Managers and tell us what you have in mind.