Top Tips: Hotel Negotiation 101
Before you negotiate with a hotel on behalf of your bridal couple, it’s important to know just what you want. Prioritize your objectives before you even call the hotel.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions! Negotiating does not have to be awkward. Many people have a hard time overcoming the fear of negotiating and would rather pay more just to avoid asking for a discount.
Amenities you should ask about are:
• Shuttle service. Guests will need transportation to and from the airport.
• Free Internet. Believe it or not, some hotels still charge for this.
• Distribution of your welcome bags. Prices are usually $2 to $5 a bag.
• Restaurant perks.
• Complimentary room for bride and groom.
• Complimentary breakfast or discounts for brunch the day after the wedding. This is something you can add to the welcome bags.
• Complimentary meeting room or lounge area for guests. Does the reception area have a curfew? If this is the case, and the reception ends early, ask for a lounge where guests can hang out after the wedding.
Always ask to speak to the decision maker, so you can save valuable time and money. Ask, “Is this the best you can do for me? Do you have a more affordable option?” Time is on your side. Be prepared to go back and forth and do not take the first offer. Also, let them know you are waiting for responses from other hotels.
Once you receive all the quotes, sit down and compare. The more time you spend asking questions and negotiating the easier it will be to get concessions in the future since the salesperson has invested time and energy. Don’t make quick decisions, and let the salesperson know that you are not the final decision maker. This will work to your advantage because you can go home, relax and review. Once you find your venue and are content with your contract, sign it and make it official. Now you may send out save-the-dates and invitations.
Contact the hotel two months before the wedding to make sure guests have reserved all blocked rooms. Once you check with the hotel, have your bridal couple look at their list and contact any out-of-town guests who have confirmed but have not made reservations. Make sure they inform guests of the cut-off date. One month before the wedding tell the hotel to release any rooms not picked up. This is where the attrition rate comes into play. Every hotel has a different rate. This is also something that can be negotiated!
Remember that a negotiation is only possible if both parties feel they are getting something out of it. Make the transaction a win-win. And most important, remember to always be willing to walk away.