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

My Job Is To Make You and Your Company Look Amazing

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

Sometimes when I tell people I’m a professional meeting and event planner, they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. I see their minds trying to process and visualize what exactly it is I do and why I’m in business.

The next thing often out of their mouths is “Oh, you plan weddings!” No, I don’t plan weddings….but if you’re looking for that, I’d be happy to introduce you to my wonderful friend Beth Chappelow.)

As I enter my 3rd year with MJMeetings, it’s clear to me one of the biggest challenges I face in growing my business is that MANY PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW MY PROFESSION EXISTS!

What makes that fact even more ironic is that my profession is consistently rated as one of the Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs. For 2016, Event Coordinator comes in at #5, just behind military personnel, firefighters, airline pilots, and police officers.

So why do so many decision makers in business not know my profession exists? Simply put, they don’t know what they don’t know. As a result, many businesses make someone in their office do the work (and take on all of the stress that comes with it) of a professional meeting and event planner. Just a few of the problems with that age-old and often misguided approach include:

(a) It’s not their full time job.
(b) They don’t have the training, skills, experience or professional credentials of a meetings professional.
(c) No one in the company knows if they are doing it well or saving money by asking the right questions (I saved a company $250,000 in one year by renegotiating several existing meetings contracts). Additionally, they often have no idea as to whether they’re getting the right kind of ROI for their meetings and events.

How do I explain my profession to people who haven’t ever heard of it before? It’s simple…

My job is to make you and your company look AMAZING at professional face-to-face live experiences.

Set TableBusinesses of all types are involved in live events, meetings (Board, Sales, Annual, etc.) and trade shows. My job is to ensure you and your company have all the tools to make these events match your business objectives, enhance your brand, execute flawlessly so your guests are totally engaged, and make sure you stay on budget.

Here are a few examples of how I help my clients with all or some of these pieces needed for a successful live experience:

  • Creation/Strategic Development of the Idea
  • Budget Development/Tracking
  • Venue/Vendor Research, Negotiation, Selection, Management
  • Invitation Creation/Delivery/Tracking
  • Brand Engagement throughout all elements
  • Logistical Planning of all details
  • Management of event, staff, vendors and attendees on-site
  • Post-event surveys, budget tracking and ROI wrap-up

I handle everything so you can focus on brand messaging, networking with your guests and making sure the big picture of your business objectives are met during the event.

To learn more, call me at 913-645-6649 or email me at

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

How I’ve Saved Millions Of Dollars

Missy Johnson, CMPOne of the things I love most about being a meeting professional is the opportunity to save my clients a LOT of money.

Over the years, through thousands of transactions, I’ve saved my clients and previous employers millions of dollars. Yes, you read that right – MILLIONS!

This is money they would’ve spent without another thought unless I had been negotiating for discounts and deals on their behalf.

With that in mind, here are 3 rules to successful negotiations in meeting planning:

Rule #1: It Never Hurts to Ask

This has always been my #1 rule in negotiations throughout my career. You’ll never know if you can get deeper discounts if you don’t ask for them. Vendors can always say no, but most don’t. What often happens is they will counter-offer with a different discount, which is still to my advantage because it ultimately translates to savings for my clients.

Rule #2: Track It

MillionsNegotiating discounts is only half the task. Once a vendor agrees to a discount, it’s my responsibility to keep an accurate record of the savings so I can document the ROI of my negotiation skills.

Track EVERYTHING. Discounts on room rates, food and beverage, transportation, audio visual, decor, etc. Even if the discount is only 10%, it’s still a savings to your organization or client. Over time, it all adds up to real dollars they would’ve spent without your negotiation skills.

Rule #3: Share Your Savings with Decision Makers

Your executives and clients need to see the value of your negotiation skills. What better way to show it than through a report which shows dollars saved by meeting, by month, by year, etc. Leaders love metrics and measurable results…especially ones that involve dollars. Your personal ROI to your leadership team, organization or client will only increase along the way.

(Bonus Rule – If you’re a meeting professional, use this report as leverage in your next performance review to highlight the value you bring!)

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ROI! ROI! ROI! (Yes, Let’s Talk About ROI.)

Missy Johnson, CMP

Every C-level executive is always looking for more ROI from everyone in their organizations and on every project they undertake.

The good news is that your organization’s meetings and events are ripe for demonstrating smart ROI.

S0 how do you provide ROI without sacrificing the experience you want for your attendees? Work with an experienced meeting professional to help you take advantage of ROI opportunities such as:

Volume = Savings

Think about how buying in bulk helps you save money at Costco and other warehouse retailers. Bundling your purchasing of meeting and event space works exactly the same way.

Meeting and event venues will give you more of a discount on room rental, guest room rates, food and beverage and audio-visual services when you purchase in volume. Think about booking multiple years at a time or, for a repeat event, book multiple hotels within the same chain to leverage savings.

Timing is Key to Deeper Discounts

Experienced meeting professionals know that sometimes it pays to procrastinate. Waiting until the end of a quarter and especially the end of a calendar year can yield significant savings when booking meetings and events.

ROISales professionals are motivated to close business during these times and will almost always give you greater discounts on the things that matter the most to you.

Make your “Hot Buttons” Known

Meeting professionals know that in negotiations you must make it known early on to vendors that you have a certain budget to meet or must gain a complimentary concession in order for them to have an opportunity to win the business. We call them “Hot Buttons.”

Every sales professional in our industry knows to expect a few Hot Buttons. It might be that you want to have free WIFI in all guest rooms, you must have a discount on food & beverage, or that you need to have three complimentary suite upgrades for your VIPs.

Whatever your “Hot Buttons” are, make them known early and don’t back down on their importance to your overall meeting’s success.

Measure and Track Savings for ROI Reporting

After all the negotiations are complete, it’s important to measure and track all of the savings. Every executive responds to statistics and percentages. Accurate reporting of negotiated savings is an excellent way to measure the success of a meeting professional and understand the value they bring to your organization.

Say it with me…ROI! ROI! ROI!