Test Time Here’s how to earn your CEU hour. Once you finish reading
this CMP Series article, read the following material:
› “Dealing With the ‘Irrational’ Negotiator,” an excerpt from the book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond, by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman, available at convn.org/negotiation-excerpt.
To earn one hour of CEU credit, visit pcma.org/ convenecmp to answer questions about the information contained in this CMP Series article and the additional material.
The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a registered trademark of the Convention Industry Council.
Kimberley Forte: ‘Even in the association business, we’re seeing last-minute planning for regional conferences.’
Greg Duff: ‘The smaller the group, the easier it will be to use a short lead time to the group’s advantage.’
At The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, senior sales man-
ager Kimberly Forte said she also sees a surge in last-minute bookings, which has allowed the property to push pricing and be selective about potential business. “We’re seeing a lot of last-minute business on the corporate side,” Forte said.
“Even in the association business, we’re seeing last-minute planning for a lot of the regional conferences, and associa- tions that booked city-wide conferences for 2013 are now figuring out that while they were a little bit conservative a couple years ago about booking their [room] blocks, now their attendance is growing and they need overflow hotels.” When faced with a challenge like short lead times, meet-
ing organizers should try to leverage last-minute planning to their advantage. Limited booking windows can both “create and limit opportunities,” Duff said. “If the short lead time coincides with a hotel’s need period, the hotel may be will- ing to negotiate much more favorable terms. On the other hand, short lead times during peak periods will likely mean multiple RFPs before one is accepted. Obviously, the smaller the group, the easier it will be to use a short lead time to a group’s advantage.” When booking with a short lead time, buyers should be
able to agree to a proposed contract quickly, Forte said. If they don’t, they may lose the space to someone else. “We’re pushing for that decision within a week,” Forte said. “We’re able to push pricing that way as well as availability, because
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there is someone right behind them that is ready to make a decision and is ready to go.” Guth added: “I’m sure hoteliers will like what I say next: If
you’re a buyer and you like the current climate, lock in future- year contracts now and strongly consider multiyear deals.”
WORKING SMARTER Even the most savvy meeting negotiator won’t be able to generate the kind of savings and cost containment that a comprehensive procurement program provides. Buyers need to move beyond one-off negotiation strategies to concentrate on strategic sourcing — lasting changes such as developing a network of preferred vendors, master contracts, and “dual- solution” providers, said Cindy Heston, manager of strategic sourcing for travel at Indianapolis-based health-care com- pany WellPoint. These strategies will help generate savings even during a recession. “Ultimately I want to get past the economic landscape and
look toward a value-led partnership with my key meeting suppliers,” Heston said. “By leveraging across the corporate enterprise, we should be entering into these partnerships on a more mature basis. WellPoint has had a lot of success in this area. The hotels and other key suppliers recognize this and value the long-term partnership, versus a quick-win view.” WellPoint renegotiated its system of preferred hotels for its transient program to include about 50 “dual-solution