Joanie Phillips, director, purchasing and industry relations for MotivAction, has more than 29 years of experience in the meeting and incentive travel
industry and is responsible for designing and costing travel programs, managing supplier relations, and providing in-depth knowledge of destinations around the world.
Kristi Martin, principal for Planning Partners Global, has more than two decades in crossover experience in consumer event marketing, consumer
engagement communications, and technology support for events.
Strategies By Joanie Phillips and Kristi Martin
The Seller’s Perspective
Exclusive report finds opportunities for planners to navigate a seller’s market
In a stabilizing economy and improving corporate performance environment, dif- ficulties for incentive planners in executing
sourcing strategies have climbed to Everest
heights. Hotels are now “King of the Hill”
and sourcing specialists are looking for the best
route to navigate the current seller’s market.
In the summer of 2016, our organizations
sent a survey to top global sales team leaders asking for insight. The survey responses
provided critical action steps and helpful tips.
Here are a few highlights from the responses.
Know Your Possibilities
Hotel owners are still feeling the pain of lost
recession revenue and are making up for it in
spades. Hotel sales teams are not saying who
has set rate hikes and created new rooms-to-
space ratios, but you can hear sales directors
whispering, “If it was up to me, I would, but
According to William Ury, cofounder of the
Harvard Negotiation Project and author of
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving
In, “The reason you negotiate is to produce
something better than the results you can
obtain without negotiating.”
“Concentrate on presenting your assets
and review possibilities, including future and
collective negotiations,” Ury says. “When a
hotel says ‘no,’ give a reason to reconsider this
position. Spark a battle of the possibilities and
shared interests.” Ury believes good agree-
ments focus on the parties’ interests rather than
Multiple Deals Deliver
Multiple deals are critical right now for obtaining the right space at the right price. More
than 90 percent of survey participants indicated that pricing will change only if the hotel
or brand is negotiating multiple offers.
According to Amanda Skena, account director, group, at the Walt Disney World Swan
and Dolphin Resorts in Orlando, the properties are trying to motivate their customers to
lock in multiple programs by offering escalating, customized concessions based on the
number of committed programs — the more
booked programs, the greater the savings.
After a client books one program with them,
the resort wants the buyer to be excited about
finding additional programs to book so that
the client can take full advantage of multiple
Make sure you are clearly communicating
the breadth of your opportunity — a “small”
opportunity may be the starting point for a
much larger program. Make sure the hotel
isn’t shortsighted in its decision to turn down
the “small” program.
Track your overall spending. Your assets in
negotiation go beyond the room and food-and-beverage revenue. Demonstrate to the property what ancillary spending may be as a part of
the program, including retail, bar, recreation,
and even participant hotel extensions (e.g., a
participant’s individual pre- and post-extension
represent revenue to the property and additional spend value to your asset negotiation).
The right room-to-space-ratio is also key.
Hotel leaders surveyed shared that a record
number of proposal requests in 2015 to mid-
2016 were declined, even though space was
available. Why? The inquiring company did
not meet their selling criteria or financial goals.
The hotels were waiting for a better offer.
Survey results showed that only 30 percent of
proposals sent for space resulted in first options
This excerpt is taken from the full-length study available at incentivemag.com/SellersMarketStudy