The Power of Data for a Meeting Professional

Missy JohnsonPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Quality data in the hands of an experienced meeting professional is quite powerful. Qualitative data about any particular meeting allows leaders and meeting professionals to make strategic decisions and proactive choices.

Meaningful data can turn a CEO’s head when presented in the right way and with the right tools. Conversely, when you’re planning a meeting or event in the absence of reliable data, things can go very wrong. Here are a few of my favorite and most powerful types of meeting data I use to track from year to year.

Room Block History and Overall Meeting Spend

This tracks meaningful data about the contracted room block and compares it to the actual night-by-night pick-up of the block. This is important because when contracting for the next open year, hotels want to know what your pick-up history has been for the same meeting before they agree to give you hotel room inventory. Additionally, it arms you with useful information about how much room revenue your meeting generated for the hotel and how much you spent on food and beverage.


AV Expense/Budget Comparison Report

Every meeting professional knows that audio-visual elements are a critical part of any meeting budget. This line item can also be one of the most expensive, so tracking the spend while also comparing it to the budget is extremely valuable for negotiations from year to year.

AV Expense Budget

Registration Attendance Report

Tracking your attendee data year over year and again comparing that to your budgeted attendee estimates is just common sense. This data becomes very powerful after you’ve collected several years of data and can start to show trends that you otherwise wouldn’t notice.

Registration Attendance Report

Finally, of course, there’s my favorite data tracking report of all time. I call it the ROI Report because it tracks all the savings that I’ve negotiated throughout the contracting and planning stages of the meeting…thus showing executives the ‘return on investment’ of my expertise. I believe this report is invaluable. So much so, that I wrote an entire blog post about it.

Do you have a favorite data tracking report? How has the power of data tracking helped you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Interested in learning how I can save both time and money on your meetings and events? I’d love to chat. You can reach me at 913-645-6649 or

250,000 Reasons Why My ROI Report Is Your New Best Friend

Missy JohnsonPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

One of the things I find most rewarding about what I do is saving money for my clients! A large part of my responsibility is to negotiate savings in contracts anywhere and everywhere I can so that my clients save money on their overall meeting budgets.

Sometimes in negotiations, certain discounts of some items don’t seem to save very much on the surface – but, when added to the big picture of overall savings – even the smallest discounts can add up to huge savings.

But overall savings don’t matter if they aren’t recorded, tracked and summarized into a bottom line dollar amount for my clients to see the real value of my negotiating expertise.

That’s why I created The ROI Report. This report shows the hard dollar savings I negotiate on behalf of my clients. It illustrates the real, tangible return on the investment my clients have made…both in me and in my negotiation skills.

The ROI Report tracks savings that were negotiated on everything during the contracting and planning phases. Discounts on guest room rates, food and beverage and audio visual requirements are just the beginning.

My ROI Report also tracks negotiations on discounted rooms for staff, complimentary and upgraded suites, shipment receiving and handling fees, complimentary or discounted Wi-Fi for attendees, electrical discounts and even in-room amenities.

I recently completed the ROI Report for a client who booked a large annual convention at a downtown hotel in a large mid-western city. The savings I negotiated on their behalf added up to almost $250,000!


Sample ROI Report

You read that right. That’s not a typo. A quarter of a million dollars worth of savings – and that’s just for ONE annual meeting! I believe in this report because it simply articulates, in one convenient dollar amount, why my clients should continue to work with me and what my expertise is really worth.

Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway – proving value through action rather than words?

Interested in learning how I might be able to save your company money on all of those meetings you have each year? Give me a call at 913-645-6649 or email me at

How You’re Losing On Every Hotel Contract You Sign

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Recently I was talking with a prospective client who needs help with a meeting this Spring. He already had a signed contract with the hotel venue for the meeting, but was looking for help with the meeting planning logistics.

In an effort to help me better understand their needs, I asked to review their already-signed hotel contract. Why?

Because a contract tells me a lot about a meeting and gives me information that sometimes my client might not even realize is relevant to the job I’m being asked to do.

Once in hand, I performed a quick audit of the contract. In about 15 minutes, I identified three key items:

1. Based on the size of this particular meeting, the company (aka my prospective client) should have received more concessions.

A concession is a complimentary or discounted item or service provided in order to reach an agreement. Things like complimentary upgrades to suites for VIPs, discounts on audio-visual services, and discounted parking fees could have easily been negotiated into this contract.

It was obvious to me that whomever negotiated this contract with the hotel didn’t even realize they could ask for these things in order to enhance their contract. AND THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME when companies don’t use experienced meetings professionals.

contract2. The contract lacked risk management on behalf of the group.

The hotel had made sure that the contract was weighted in their favor when it came to the group’s commitment to pick-up their guest room block and in the event of a full cancellation of a meeting

Again, THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME when an experience meeting professional isn’t involved. I could have easily mitigated that risk and more evenly weighted those clauses so that it was fair to both parties.

3. My prospective client could have gotten a more solid contract without paying me a penny.

Had this client allowed me to negotiate and book this contract for them, they would have had a more solid contract without paying me a penny. I would have been able to be paid directly by the hotel, via a commission, that doesn’t add anything additional onto the group’s expenses, but still affords them to have contracts with richer concessions and less risk. A win-win for everyone.

Have you ever wondered if your hotel contracts are the best they can be? If so, let me put my 20 years of industry knowledge and experience to work for you and see if I can save you both money and time!

To learn how to get more out of your meetings and events, call or email me at 913-645-6649 or

I’ll Book Your Next Meeting For FREE!

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Did you know that venues will often negotiate complimentary rooms for staff to stay in during your company meeting or conference?

Did you know that audio-visual companies typically offer discounts to groups who use a/v equipment in multiple meeting rooms each day?

When you use an experienced meeting planner to book your organization’s meeting or conference, these are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy. For years I’ve successfully negotiated these kinds of complementary concessions on behalf of my clients.

And it gets even better. What’s the biggest benefit to you and your organization when you use an experienced meeting planner to book your meeting or conference?

You don’t have to pay me to do the work! Yep, that’s right. Instead, the hotel or resort pays me directly. This is very common in our industry and is known as a “sourcing commission”, which is paid to the person who books it by the hotel or resort where the meeting is booked.

FREEThis is a great benefit for businesses, associations, etc. who don’t have the budget to work with a meeting professional on a regular basis but who want to enjoy the benefits that one can provide.

I’m going to say it again. Work with me to book your next meeting or conference and it won’t cost you a dime. Plus, you’ll get all the benefits of a professional contract negotiator on your side.

Not only will I save thousands of dollars that you would’ve spent on your meeting, but I will also help you mitigate the risks involved when entering into a conference contract.

All at no cost to you. Trust me on this one….the benefits of having me do your sourcing will far outweigh you trying to do it yourself!

Want to learn more or ready to get started? Call or email me today at 913-645-6649 or

Negotiating Contracts Excites Me! (Seriously)

Missy Johnson, CMPAuthor: Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Contract negotiations.

Most people hear those words and want to crawl under a rock or throw something hard out a window. I’m the exact opposite.

Negotiating contracts excites me.

The back-and-forth of a negotiation provides a charge of energy to my day that I don’t get from other work tasks. It’s a thrill to save myself and my clients money and mitigate risk. For those of you who might not enjoy this type of work, here are 3 tips to help:

1. Ask – Or You’ll Never Know

My #1 rule is to always ask for what you want. The other party can always refuse your request or offer an alternative. But, if you never ask for it in the first place, you’ll never know.

In the RFP’s I prepare, I’m very specific with my concession requests (discounts, comps, etc.
I outline from the very beginning those concessions that are REQUIRED vs. those that are REQUESTED. Vendors appreciate this approach because we have a firm starting point from which to begin our negotiations.

Missy is excited2. Repeat The Ask – At Least Three Times

In negotiations, no doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes if an item is very important to the contract, I’ll ask the vendor again and again for it to ensure that they know how important that item is to the negotiations.

In most cases, even if someone has said no to an ask once or twice, the third time is often the charm! For example, I was working with a resort in negotiating a large group meeting and I requested that they lower the rate two separate times during the negotiation.

Finally, when I asked for a rate reduction on the third request, they agreed to waive the resort fee. This turned into a savings of over $15 per room night, which translated into huge savings for my client!

3. Be Firm, But Cordial

Vendors who I regularly work with tell me I’m a tough but fair negotiator and they enjoy doing business with me. While I pride myself in pushing them for deals and discounts, I’m always careful to use a professional, courteous tone and be respectful of their bargaining position.

I’m always acutely aware that these vendors are also my partners in helping me execute a successful event on behalf of my clients. There’s no need to get unprofessional during negotiations because then you may make the other party feel as though you’ve bullied them into a deal they aren’t comfortable with.

I observed this type of behavior early in my career when I watched my boss negotiate a big deal with a large hotel. Because she held a lot of power due to the size of the meeting, the hotel was ‘bullied’ into giving her discounts and concessions they typically wouldn’t offer. It created unnecessary tension for all involved from the time the contract was signed through on-site execution of the meeting.

Have these tips in mind to help you and your organization keep your contract negotiations on the right track. If you still aren’t comfortable with negotiations, call me at 913-645-6649. I’m happy to help!