by: Bob Tomko
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Do you want to know why so many meeting planners now use third party service organizations to outsource the site selection process? Well, the first thing you should know is that it is a no cost service. The third party fee, usually 10% of the guest room sales, is paid by the winning hotel, and it does not effect the negotiated group rate.
Today, third party services carry a significant amount of clout in your negotiations that you can utilize for free, just by using their service. Hotels, convention bureaus, and convention centers are clamoring for their attention. The site selection of more than 70% of meetings today are managed for meeting planners by third party services.
Saving time is perhaps the biggest benefit that a third party meeting site selection service provides to you. If you have ever planned a meeting before and sent an RFP (request for proposal) out to several hotels, you have discovered that suddenly you have several new “best friends” in those hotels who within a matter of minutes will be barraging you with constant phone calls, emails, and in some cases, unannounced sales calls to your office.
The job of these hotel sales people is to try to establish a direct relationship with you in order to emotionally sway you to select their hotel. The hotel management team puts an extreme amount of pressure on these sales people at their daily business review meetings, which increases the intensity of their efforts to try to reach you.
Third party meeting planners can send out RFP’s on your behalf, and shield you from the stress of being stalked by time wasting sales people until you are ready to engage in direct conversation. They do this by keeping your name and your organizations name out of the RFP. They simply provide the hotel with you market segment, geographic territory, and size of the group in order to process the RFP to the right sales person. All inquires and questions by the hotel sales people are funneled through the third party service, which is working for you.
Most importantly, since third party site selection services place far more business in hotels than your organization does, they almost always can command much better guest room rates and contractual terms than you can get on your own.
In the final analysis, third party site selection services saves you time, money, and effort.