June 2010 | BLLA | blla.org / As printed in the Sabre Hotel RFP Newsletter
If there is any year that is best to break out your negotiating muscle, 2010/2011 is the time to ensure your plans for a superb hotel program are set in place now.
OTA’s like Expedia and Travelocity are hitting properties hard this year with increased margins and discounted net rates. They know that the landscape is similar to how it was after 9/11 and properties simply want to put heads in beds. So, reluctantly, they have been giving in and giving away the house. This is not good for you or anyone except the OTA’s who are making the real profit off of your travel dollars. These dollars should be going back to the hotel who is trying hard to take good care of their guests with less of a profit than ever in the past.
Thus, properties would prefer to work with agencies and corporations as it just makes better business sense all around. This is your opportunity and if properly managed, it will also be a way for you to negotiate strong contracts that save your company money while making the property happy and profitable. Without this, properties cannot operate efficiently and provide guests with the experience they expect.
While your main goal of providing a hotel program that allows your company’s travelers to continue traveling on less of a budget, your strategy must include a win-win scenario. Remember you can attract more bears with honey than you can with vinegar. Showing properties that you care about their well-being while also stating that you desire a better deal, is the best way to get a great contract in place.
Go get ’em Tiger! Make this the best year ever for a well thought-out hotel program where everyone can celebrate!
It must be a Win-Win!
Negotiations are not just about you and your company. There are other parties involved including the property and their staff as well as owners and your own travelers that you are negotiating for.
As in any partnership negotiation, both parties must be 100% (or close to it) satisfied that this is a good agreement for all involved. It should provide opportunities and potential for future growth as well as cost savings and comfort criteria.
You should walk away from the negotiating table with a smile and a plan of how you will communicate the program to both your company’s travelers and to the property on your progress. This should be done at least once a quarter to make sure you’re all on the same page. Only then can you truly call your negotiations a Win-Win.
By: Frances Kiradjian, Founder & Chair
The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association