In my previous blogposts we have explored the organizational and communicative skills of meeting planners. But if you want to survive as a meeting planner you need more. Planner, meeting owner and suppliers often have conflicting priorities and as a good planner you also need to keep the attendees in mind. If you want to reach the best result, namely, a succesful meeting, you will have to negotiate with all stakeholders – and you have to be good.
Dealing with suppliers
The demand for hotel services has steadily increased these past few years, tilting the negotiating leverage in favor of suppliers rather than meeting planners. The planner would need a strong will and good negotiation skills to achieve a nice deal for a meeting.
“Most of the times you will need to dicuss with the supplier about what services they will offer and at what price. Of course, we both want to struck a good deal, but I also have to keep my budget in mind. Therefore I always contact several suppliers so that I can compare their offers and get an idea about the prices I have to expect. A second offer can also be a great weapon during the negotiations”
“I’m a big believer in creating partnerships with the sales managers I do business with and, whenever possible, I like to go back to them for my future meetings. Once a sales manager has earned my trust and delivered on their promises to me, that relationship is very valuable and one I’m not willing to risk by trying to force concessions or unrealistic demands on the property“
Difficult meeting owners
“I had a client I would label as my ‘worry wad’. I would provide her with extensive updates, spreadsheets, and production schedules. You name it she had it. But like clock work the day of her meeting or event she would freak out in a panic. I would get to the venue to set up and she would be there giving direction. It was so distracting.”
The meeting owner might have demands you cannot realize or which prevent him from reaching his goals for the meeting. Sometimes it seems completely impossible to satisfy the client. You need a lot of self-confidence to deal with such difficult clients and a smart communication strategy to convince them of your own plans.
You are the boss!
You are the planner, who coordinates everything and knows what is best for the meeting. Therefore you should be able to have the final say!
“I am a city wide event planner. I’m a negotiator, as I try to break down the walls of jealousy between the cities, and teach them to work together. I stand between the city associations and their merchants, becoming their advocate. I am the liaison between the merchants and their potential customers.”
Please tell me what you think!
Can you tell us examples from your work as a planner that underline your negotiation skills? And what other skills do you have? Leave a comment or send a tweet with the hashtag #PlannersAre. Let’s show the industry how broad the capacities of a meeting planner are.