Industry news

Venue concessions: negotiating what’s best for your event

In this blog, we look at some venue concessions you can request to make a contract more attractive and possibly save you money, too.

An event planner knows exactly what they need to make it happen, but on low budgets, not everything is possible. Negotiating with your venue can help make the most out of your event while achieving a few discounts.

Of course, the more attractive your business is to the venue, the more likely they will negotiate with you. And it can be reassuring to know that the attractiveness of your business is not necessarily because of its value, or the size of your group. It might be because it fits well with other bookings, is on a less popular day of the week, or time of the year. Or it’s an event type that can support the venue in attracting similar business.

A good venue procurement specialist such as Trinity Event Solutions will negotiate on your behalf. So let them know what’s important to you and they will help. The results can often be better by using an agent that negotiates directly.

It’s always worth asking for the important things and being brave, the venue can only say no, meet you halfway or agree! So, what venue concessions can you consider negotiating?

Venue concessions: The hotel or venue

  • Extend the bedroom rate three days before and three days after the meeting dates, in case attendees are travelling from afar and need to arrive early or stay late.
  • Hotels often offer a complimentary bedroom for a certain quantity of bedroom nights. Try to negotiate an additional free room.
  • Enquire about a complimentary or reduced rate accommodation for the event organisers and any individuals needed for set up.
  • Ask if there are any suite upgrades available last-minute free of charge.
  • Request complimentary room nights or dinner for a site visit and planning visits.
  • Ask for a proportion of early check-ins or late check-outs.
  • Request a private luggage storage or cloakroom for attendees to leave bags if the meeting doesn’t match the hotel’s check-out time.
  • Ensure your group has complimentary use of the health club, spa, pool, and any other leisure facilities.
  • Ask the venue if they can offer any free or discounted transfers from the airport or train station.
  • Ask the venue if they have any discounts on leisure facilities, spa treatments or golf for attendees. It is also worth asking whether they can offer discounts for local attractions.
  • If there is a resort fee, ask for it to be waived or discounted.
  • If there is a parking charge? The hotel should be willing to discount it or allocate several complimentary spaces.

Contracting and invoicing

  • Agree with the hotel well in advance on which charges they will post to the master account and which charges attendees will pay. Communicate this to attendees too, so they are fully aware of any charges they may face.
  • Check the minimum delegate numbers with the venue and negotiate, if applicable to your event.
  • Check whether there is a food and beverage minimum spend. If there is, and you are wary your event might not reach it, ask if the venue can lower it.
  • Negotiate a percentage of guest room attrition on the original contracted block.
  • Negotiate on the rates and confirm whether they include service and tax.

The event/ meeting

  • Check the Wi-Fi will support the quantity of attendees. If it is unsuitable, ask the venue to upgrade it free of charge. It needs to cover all meeting rooms, registration areas and catering areas. The capacity of the Wi-Fi is important as many people have multiple devices.
  • If you need to use the venue’s AV equipment, ask if they can make a deal to incorporate it into your event package.
  • Find out what equipment is included and ask for anything else you need. If the venue has it in stock, it may be complimentary.
  • Consider if you need early access, late breakdown, or overnight hold of the meeting rooms. If so, check the venue can do this free of charge for you.
  • Check if the venue provides paper, pens, stationery, water and sweets in the meeting rooms. If not, ask for a discounted rate or complimentary stationery for your event.
  • One of the most popular requests is morning breakfast rolls on arrival. The venue may be willing to add these free of charge as they are not expensive to produce but are great for delegates, especially at early morning events.
  • Ask the venue to include a re-booking clause in the contract. The clause can mitigate the cost if you need to cancel and re-book.
  • Enquire if the venue will offer a multi-year deal at a set rate and/or hold dates for future years. If the event works at the venue and you want to re-book then the negotiation has already been done.

Venue concessions rules for negotiation

  • Only ask for items that are important to you. It’s better to focus on these than a long list.
  • Be fair and realistic. If the venue team understands why you are asking for something, it will be more likely to try and make it work.
  • Remember that the venue has costs too. Don’t negotiate on anything that will negatively affect your meeting, the service, or quality.
  • Think about where the venue makes its profit – that’s where they will most likely be able to reduce costs.
  • Negotiations will be much quicker if you can deal directly with the decision-maker.
  • Be kind. The venue staff will do their best to make your event perfect. But if they can’t offer exactly what you want, be kind and thank them for what they can do.
  • Make sure everything is put in the contract. Ask a colleague or legal adviser to check it before you sign. Trinity Event Solutions Your event specialists should be able to do this for you – you just need to ask!

Remember, you want to be on good terms with everyone to ensure they deliver a successful event. So all parties need to be happy with the venue concessions agreement.

If you would like any help with venue concessions, or more information, get in touch with us.

Venue concessions: negotiating what’s best for your event

Talk to an expert on +44 (0)1780 484050 for help with conferences, meetings & events.
There’s no commitment - call or email to find out how we can help.