Joan Eisenstodt answers additional questions from the 04.26.17 Site Selection: Checklist for Success webinar.
1. What about fire alarms? I have been in government buildings where the fire alarm was marked to say "this alarm is not hooked up with 911. Pull alarm and then dial 911." Is this common for hotels/meeting venues. Should we be asking about this?
Great question. I've never seen that and will see what I can find out from fire and other safety orgs. Watch for a later answer.
2. In critical info to learn from the news, Joan included marijuana. Can she expand on the issue and her concerns or considerations when holding a program in a state where it is now legal?
I was expressing concern from a corp. planner colleague who said that her co. will not allow them to hold events near a dispensary. Given recent research about the safety of marijuana v. alcohol use and driving impairment, I think it is prudent to know the laws and to provide, to those attending, information about safety just as you would about alcohol consumption. I'd also advise about the laws re no transporting across state lines.
3. Last year I read somewhere that "resort fees" were potentially go away. Since they were surprising to the consumers. Do you have any updates?
I think they are not going away until individuals and groups are willing to pay higher room rates. What I do suggest is that you gather history of your group's use of hotel amenities covered by resort fees. For example if there is no use of health clubs, you might be able to negotiate a lower resort fee. But it's a big if ... on getting the history and getting a reduction.
4. I had a participant bring their medical marijuana on program into resort in Tucson. The hotel came into the room for turn down and security was called. Option was to flush or call the police.
WOW! How interesting. I'm surprised the person who had the medical marijuana didn't understand that they could not travel with it without risk. Maybe this is something we all need to advise in pre-meeting information.
5. Question on financials: how should we approach this when we're 34d party planners and must demonstrate savings to our client? If we show financials at the get-go, then the hotel works to the budget and I have no room for savings negotiations. Any suggestions?
Please email me at FridaywithJoan@aol.com and tell me more so I can try to respond. This is more complex I think than a simple answer. Thanks.
6. When providing financials, how much information is too much towards negotiation of F&B and rates? I often hesitate to provide too much financial information.
Good question and it's a judgement call. When I do site selection for clients, I write in ranges of room rates, F&B, etc., and whether they are inclusive or exclusive. I've found that the more information provided up front, the better for use of everyone's timing and knowledge.
7. Should you also include that you want service charges accounted in your price range?
See response to another question - yes. Say if you want prices quoted inclusive or exclusive of all additional charges - service, tax(es), etc.
8. "Hello, Joan! I site inspected a hotel for an incentive program, and three business days later, I emailed the hotel to request a contract for the space I had been shown. The hotel waited a couple of days to respond to my request, and let me know the space they had shown me was now under contract to another group. Was the hotel under obligation during my site visit to share that another group was considering the space they showed me? Why waste their time and mine showing space that they knew they were negotiating on with another party?
Although we discussed this on the webinar, I'll respond again: I think the more transparent all parties are, the better we do business. Showing you the space before a contract was signed by another group seems Kosher to me. IF the hotel was considering playing each group off against the other - meaning if yours had a higher dollar value and they were going to try to get the other group to switch dates, even if a contract had already been signed, BOO to them.
9. I have provided my total budget (minus speaker expenses, handouts and staff travel) to a venue. This enables them to play with food & beverage, lodging rates, A/V, etc. to determine where they are best able to make adjustments to meet my budget, if possible. Is this a good practice?
It depends! In some cases, yes, depending on the relationship of the AV company and whether they are owned and managed by the hotel or separately. Altho' most inhouse AV companies provide a fee to be there and a portion of the cost to the customer back to the hotel, often the negotiations with AV are separate because of labor costs. I'd suggest asking the relationships of all the parties before providing all.
10. Do you have a sample/outline RFP that you recommend or have available? Thank you!
Yes and no. It's being revised. I'll post when it is ready and we'll post a link to it.
See Page 2 for four more bonus Q+A items from Joan Eisenstodt.