By Milton Rivera
Hotel consolidation has been front-page news for several months now and meeting planners may be wondering how this consolidation will impact their upcoming negotiations and events.
The way that planners engage and plan their meetings and events with hotels will inevitably be transformed, creating both opportunities and challenges. Here are four things planners need to consider:
Changing financial/commission models
Consolidation could lead to a change in financial models and produce tougher negotiation situations. Therefore, planners must be prepared to revaluate their payment structures with hotels and suppliers to get ahead of any changes. When negotiating new supplier contracts, planners should consider adding in clauses that protect themselves, their clients and the meeting, in case consolidation occurs. Lastly, planners should look at existing contracts and familiarize themselves with how consolidation could impact their agreements and compensation.
As suppliers centralize their operations, those who are less fragmented enable greater efficiencies in the back-end of meeting planning. In turn, this can streamline processes for planners during negotiations. Consolidation can also lead to more concentrated spend per hotel chain, which can have downstream implications such as enhanced mobile offerings or online experiences that were previously available in only one chain being rolled out across all brands. By understanding meeting spend and strengthening relationships with valued suppliers, organizations have a unique opportunity to own their destiny and streamline their meetings and events.
Stay on top of the news
Meeting planners must keep a close watch on changes happening across the industry. These changes, both large and small, can impact offerings and policies, further driving the need for solutions that exceed attendee and meeting stakeholder expectations. Planners who are informed and prepared with the right solutions can create successful events, despite the evolving landscape.
Educate your client
With uncertainty ahead, educating clients on the impact of hotel consolidation is critical. By proactively educating clients and directly communicating how consolidation can impact their meetings and events, this can ensure all parties involved are prepared for sudden changes and ultimately ensure the quality of the meeting.
Adaptability, familiarity and education are the key elements that allow meeting and events planners to manage hotel consolidation across the industry. As consolidation persists, those with a deep understanding of their programs and spend will have a distinct advantage in navigating future negotiations and influencing the timing and location of their meetings and events.
About the author
Milton Rivera is Vice President, Global Business Development, American Express Meetings & Events.