As defined, a partnership1 is an arrangement where parties, known as partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, schools, governments or combinations of those entities. Organizations may partner together to increase the likelihood of each achieving their mission and to amplify their reach.
From the start, meetings professionals and hospitality partners need to understand the business objectives of the event at hand. Every program is unique in its identity. Objectives can shift from year-to-year based on changes within a company, the economy or simply in the overall messaging of an event. By being transparent and open with your partners on the front end, whether it’s your first time meeting virtually or face-to-face, or during a long-term relationship, you are setting the groundwork for a more effective and pleasant process to safeguard the success of your program and ensure a win-win outcome for all parties.
For meetings professionals, it can be as straightforward as sharing room block pick-up history for your program, prior event attendance numbers, minimum room square footage requirements and previous agendas. Inform partners up front if you are looking only at their city or at multiple cities, and if your dates are flexible. Providing previous event history inspires confidence room blocks will be met, and being honest about your priorities to achieve a win-win contract with important and/or needed concessions will benefit the meetings professional in the long run. Provide information that can potentially help in your overall negotiations (i.e. needing to advertise a lower room rate for a group but being open to balancing it out with a higher F&B minimum or sharing up-front the fact that a program will be booked multiple times and you can offer a multi-year contract). Make sure to loop in your national sales management team for all hospitality partners (hotels, DMCs, speaker bureaus, etc.). Their role is to ensure a better negotiation strategy with individual properties and vendors by knowing the “bigger picture” as it relates to the global relationship between the two organizations, identifying synergies where combining programs or taking into account future programs can lead to cost savings.
Your hospitality partners do, of course, want to win your business. But also, don’t forget that they, as well, are selling internally to their management teams to make certain the program will meet your goals. Knowing as many details up-front will better equip them to fight for the meetings professional in their organization, deliver the desired concessions, ensure the program meets your overall objectives and ultimately win your business.
As a team leader, make sure you on-board your team members properly using the approaches mentioned above, instill an environment of trust and relationship-building within your team throughout the meetings and events community, and remember to be open with your partners. Loyalty grows out of trusted relationships resulting in mutually beneficial situations for both you and your partners, allowing both organizations, and “you,” to shine in the long-run.
Meeting and Event Specialist
Global Atlantic Financial Company