Ethical negotiations - is it an oxymoron?

If I could have been a fly on the wall during the negotiations for the 'getting-lots-of-attention' GSA Vegas meeting, I wonder what I'd have heard and seen. From the report, the price for the bicycle team building was brought down from the initial proposal of $125K to $75K. Even the lavish suites were, I read, at the government rate.

From conversations on various listservs, including here at meetingstodayforum (click the "Forum" link above), there have been questions about the cost of the entire meeting including about the bike building/team building exercise.  If it started at $125K, what was the mark-up? Was the information provided to GSA or to their contractor [it appears they also used an outside meeting planner - other than the wife of the Administrator - to do some of the work] and was the proposal transparent from the start?

Do you think groups provide, in their RFPs, all the information - history, issues in their industry that may impact attendance, potential company or association mergers that may cause a meeting to cancel - needed for hotels and vendors to propose and negotiate ethically? Do hotels and vendors disclose any markup or costs so groups are aware what they are paying and can negotiate ethically? 
  
In addition to thinking about the ethical negotiaions sessions Kelly Franklin Bagnall, Esq., an industry attorney, and I are doing the MeetingsToday Live events  [for which you may qualify to attend - do check - we'd love to interact with you there] this post of fees charged at hotels made me wonder more about what we ask and disclose and if we are negotiating ethically.

Or are we still an industry of those who don't know how the "other" party makes money?  an industry that often (always?) holds something back for later so there is what some assume is "leverage" to make the deal sweeter?

Can and do we negotiate ethically?


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