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Making Meetings Easier
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• Organizing your management team

• Ins and outs of location selection

• Organizing your responsibilities

• Working with your venue's event planner


Your New Best Friend – The Events Manager
The hotel will assign an events manager to your account. This person is responsible for helping you make all your arrangements with the different  departments, food service, room set-up, etc. It will pay you to treat this critical liaison as a valued partner. He or she will bring experience to the table that can help you have a smooth operation. Conversely, a bad relationship can raise your stress level astronomically.

Some Basic Rules
Number One: Negotiations with the hotel must be in writing. Estimates must be written. Spoken guesstimates while strolling about the hotel do not hold water. Only words on paper that have been signed off on -- by the hotel management and by your management – constitute an agreement. Follow it to avoid problems.

Number two “Communications is essential, follow up makes it work”. This is the magic formula to meeting and event planning. Follow it and all problems—should any happen--can be solved.

The Contract
You and the hotel representative will first meet, negotiate and make a contract that defines what the charges are going to be. It will also itemize all other details agreed to. A meeting with the Catering Manager is critical in this negotiation. Among numerous other details both big and small, the contract should specify that the hotel must inform you of its acceptance or rejection at least 45 days before the event and that if written acceptance or rejection isn't received within the time frame, the hotel will be deemed to have granted credit for the full estimated cost of the master account billing.

Just a few of the many items to be detailed in the contract are:
• The amount of credit they will extend to your company.
• The date when the final and complete bill should be received after the event is over.
• How charges will be grouped together on your final bill so you can easily review them
• Name of people authorized to sign for charges

The Master Account
Once you and the hotel have negotiated a contract, that contract will set up The Master Account. The Master account details all agreements with the hotel or venue…and what will be charged for them. You can then bill whatever services you want to your account. This is the document that will define your billing, prices, what services you are entitled to, time frames for food service, menus and more, much more.

Travel Costs
Travel costs usually represent the second largest controllable expense in event supervision. This whole area can be a real bag of worms if parameters are not set up from the get-go. Attendees need to know what travel costs the company will cover and what they must pay for themselves.

• From the hotel side -- expect more resort fees, gym fees, etc. Fewer and fewer things will be free. This means to save costs you need to drill down in your contract and clearly understand what items you are charged for and what items are added on.
• On the car rental side --look out for no show fees and a myriad of additional charges. In many cases over 50% of the car rental fees are not in the base price. Look into your credit card company and insurance policy to see if they cover some of the fees your travelers are paying extra for.
• Don’t forget -- all those airport and airplane perks like headphones, wireless service, drinks, etc.
• Leverage spending. Group and meeting travel combined with all of your corporate travel should be properly leveraged through one consolidated source to get the most leverage in your supplier agreement negotiations. Only with consolidated data and control will you secure the best values.

"How to Plan and Book Meetings and Seminars" goes into a lot more depth and detail on what problems to expect in each of these categories.
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