Hotels – enemies that become allies?

Gemma Edwards | Monday, April 06 2020

Planning events in the current climate is a situation not many events teams have been in before, and this is certainly the case for us here at Canalys.

Hotel negotiation is something we are well versed in, but in these new and unprecedented times we find ourselves having to rethink our stance on cancellation and force majeure clauses. Our old “one size fits all” clause is no longer enough, and we have to enter into difficult discussions about the changes we need to make to protect both ourselves and our suppliers. A strategy that has proved useful in our negotiations has been to think about the situation in both the short and long term. Traditionally, when entering into hotel negotiations, we focus on the short-term need of mutual gain, but when that objective is thrown into potential jeopardy, we must look to the long term for solutions.

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In the current climate, it is easy to let anxiety and panic overcome our work, resulting in rushed decisions. But by being understanding and seeing the situation from all sides, we have seen the willingness of hotels to reach decisions favorable to all.

Our short-term goal now becomes the need to avoid large-scale financial loss for both parties, while in the long term we need to protect and further long-standing relationships. This may be achieved through the promise of future business should cancellation occur, agreeing more favorable conditions for event deferment if needed, or by allowing credit to be applied to the wider hotel group rather than the individual hotel. These options were of course included before coronavirus when the need to use these clauses was somewhat unlikely. Now we have to bring these clauses to the forefront of our negotiations and focus on mitigating loss, rather than maximizing gain. By thinking of both the short- and long-term needs, it helps to reach agreements that protect both parties immediately and in the future.

 

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