32 Hotel and destinations sourcing and contract negotiation, dos and don’ts. Experts tips and recommendations (Part 2 of 3)
Trying to control your event’s destiny when negotiating contracts can either be a long and frustrating process or an enjoyable and rewarding process, it’s all dependent on how prepared you are when you negotiate your meeting contract and on the great practices and qualities of your contract negotiator. It’s very important that you engage the right person at your meeting planner, or planner to negotiate your contract on your behalf. The right person will be professional, educated, experienced, and versed in the industry. Additionally, the right person will be trustworthy and reliable. Below the part 2 of 3 of our 32 tips and recommendations.
10-Follow up frequently. Don’t let them slip away Follow up often. Don’t allow them to slip away from you because if you aren’t able to get a proper contract signed during your final negotiations or before that (preliminary), it’s important that you keep the open issues in front of them by continuously talking with your associate about these matters so that they don’t slip your mind or perhaps see them left out in the contract altogether through an oversight.
11- Obtain peer referrals and advice. If you can, find planning peers who have negotiated with your contact person previously and ask them if there are any issues you need to be aware of, lessons learned, etc. It’s always a good idea to get as much information in advance as you can. Remember to verify all the written requirements and the response time of anyone involved before signing on the dotted line. Be 100% comfortable prior to making your final decision. You’ll be better equipped to sit down and negotiate if you know a lot about the person on the other side of the table of negotiations.
12-Contact union stewards before an event at a union venue. If you’re planning to hold your event in a venue owned or operated by a union, contact the head of the labor union and find out if they have a point person on staff whom you can contract with. Then make sure that you specify who has been authorized to negotiate on behalf of that union as well as yourself when signing your contract – after all, it is their venue you will be renting so it would be only fair for them to acknowledge your authority because if something goes wrong at some point during your event you want the phone number of someone who actually has the power to fix things.
13-Communicate with clarity and outline everything in writing. When it comes to communicating clearly and in writing, nothing can be assumed. Nothing should go on before defining terms in writing. Present your own progress as neatly and clearly as possible. Do all you can to ensure that other people around you manage their work – or your next ‘tongue lash’ could be directed towards someone else! A contract is only as good as what’s written into it, so put it in easily understandable writing. Make all agreements part of the written contract. Put it in writing, every time.
14-Be ethical. t is sometimes possible to distract your counterpart by putting a lot of legal jargon into contracts, or mixing wording so that they think it’s all clear – yet in the end, the contract could turn out harmful to one side. This is highly unfair and unethical; don’t do it. Your agreement should benefit and protect both sides equally.
15-Ask questions. Never make assumptions when negotiating contracts. It is extremely important to get all of your contractual questions answered before finalizing a deal. It’s hard to negotiate terms with the assumption that you will recognize important details later, so our advice is to never assume anything.
16-Listen and pay attention. If you ignore the legal portion of contracts or don’t pay close attention to what you are negotiating with, you could be agreeing to certain terms that could potentially harm your event in some way. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re agreeing to so that your event isn’t harmed by contract terms.
17-Minimize all distractions. Don’t take phone calls, send texts or allow people to enter and exit your negotiations unless the interruptions are pertinent to the matters at hand. It’s very easy to lose your train of thought when interrupted and that could result in key elements getting left out or going uncorrected during negotiations.
18-Verify all legal clauses of the contract with an attorney. Negotiation is a tricky business, and there are many pitfalls. It’s ideal if this document can be finalized before you engage in negotiations with any possible partners. If you uncover any last-minute add-ons or deletions, it would be wise to have an attorney draft up the final version of the contract to ensure no loopholes pop up down the line. If possible, have this done before you go into final negotiations.
19-Know the event budget. Perhaps the two most important rules of contract negotiation are “put it in writing” and knowing exactly how much you can spend. Your contract will reflect that you and your point person had a meeting of the minds and they will provide exactly what you agreed upon for the price you contracted to. But don’t rely strictly on the contract. Oftentimes, things might get lost in translation so it’s best to discuss your objectives beforehand with your event planner, who can give you a more accurate assessment of what to expect for the budget and for them to be aware of how much you’re willing to spend as well.
20- Don’t -Sacrifice quality for cost. By the time you sit down to negotiate a contract, you should know that the provider has the quality you need and it comes within your budget. Don’t ever sacrifice quality for cost. Keep in mind that the same thing doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive. Remember, it is better to search long, than search wide and you will find what you are looking for! If your event planning company wants to push too hard on making things appear nicer than they are, don’t let them.
Remember what Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” If you have to, go to your Plan B supplier who should be all too happy to get your business. If you ever need help with site sourcing and events contract negotiation reach out to: www.MTCglobalSolution.com, these services are usually complimentary for their clients.
MTC Global CEO
Nino is a Leader in the Event Planning, Golf & Incentives Travel, Destinations Marketing & Content Managment that drives Meaningful Conversations in the Hospitality Industry.