The Power of Small Firms & Creative Negotiations
In an earlier post we reviewed some of the benefits of using a smaller firm when sourcing your meeting and conference planning. One area deserving of more in-depth discussion is creative negotiations. Smaller firms have the ability to be more creative and nimble, and as evidenced in the illustration below, there can be unanticipated positive outcomes that extend far beyond the event itself.
AM&HS recently went to market under difficult conditions seeking solutions to place a large, space intensive conference to operate on specific dates in Atlanta, GA with less than 11 months of lead time to the operation dates of the conference.
A customized and detailed RFP was developed to ensure the hoteliers would have 100% of the goals and objectives, expected terms and conditions and the business case in hand including a decision date timeline. When considering the lead time and other opportunities the hotels were entertaining, this approach was very important and well-received by the hoteliers.
Owing to the tight lead time, within three days of receipt of the RFP responses we brought the client to the hotels for a site inspection. These visits allowed us to demonstrate a serious degree of interest that allowed our client to be in the driver’s seat of the other business opportunities the hotel was considering for the same time period and to fully ascertain logistics.
We went to contract with two of the hotels. The client ended up selecting Hotel A. When Hotel B was informed, they offered a serious counter offer including a $50,000 credit to the group’s master account. AM&HS shared this concession with the client and Hotel A.
As would be expected, Hotel A was a bit taken aback. AM&HS stepped in to “calm the storm” and lend assurances, which we were able to do because we have solid long term relationships both at Hotel A corporate and at the hotel property level. We encouraged a creative approach — not necessarily matching Hotel B—and staying within Hotel A’s business standards ensuring the client’s value to the hotel.
Hotel A brainstormed and offered a generous rebate based on production in addition to a Corporate Social Responsibility concession of providing 2,600+ meals (one meal per room night) to those in need in the greater Atlanta area on the client’s behalf. The client was impressed and found great value in the community service aspect.
Our contacts at Hotel A are grateful and appreciate the relationship with AM&HS. They consider AM&HS a business partner, not a “third party obstacle” as many of the larger third parties are viewed based on their business practices.
In this case, it is worth considering whether a larger firm would have been able to react as quickly to the various developments during negotiations. Would a larger firm be as invested in approaches that blend creativity, talent and long-term industry relationships, or would they have settled for standard concessions?