As an event professional, you may think you’re fairly knowledgeable about preferred vendor agreements, but there is actually a lot of misinformation floating around. What may have been true a few years ago is not necessarily true now.
A preferred vendor agreement is a contract between an organization and a vendor that explicitly defines the terms of their relationship. Many large organizations negotiate these agreements with hotel brands, venues and other vendors because they clearly lay out expectations, improve the efficiency and ease of planning events, and increase cost savings due to leveraging.
Such pre-approved contracts often include an attrition clause, which ensures that pick up rates, food and beverage, and other contractual obligations are fulfilled by the organization – this helps reduce risk and exposure on the part of the vendor. In exchange for these guarantees, the organizations tend to receive lower rates and other special treatment.
Larger organizations such as Siemens or Pfizer tend to draft and use their own contracts for preferred vendor agreements rather than using contracts put together by the hotels or vendors. Therefore, if you are targeting such accounts and currently don’t have a preferred agreement in place, don’t expect to use your traditional in-house agreement. If you want their business, you need to show them you can play by their rules.
What If I’m Not on the List?
If you aren’t on an organization’s preferred vendor agreement, the first step is learning how to get on the list. Who should you contact and through which channels should you reach out? If you already have a relationship with someone in the organization, they may be a good starting point. Don’t just jump right in, though. First, you need to figure out what the organization’s needs are before asking the tricky questions.
If you plan on targeting an account that has an existing preferred vendor agreement (that you aren’t on), you will need to step up your game if you hope to be successful. Being knowledgeable about their event planning processes is essential – and you will need to become familiar with their meeting department’s organizational structure. The trick is doing your homework – research, research, research!
Research can be tedious and time-consuming, so looking for additional resources to further your research is encouraged. For example, the Knowland Group’s Advanced Researcher Profiles gather this type of information, which may prove quite difficult for you to obtain. Advanced Researcher Profiles are in-depth profiles on accounts that essentially take a magnifying glass to organizations’ event planning processes. They provide valuable information like:
- Affiliations with 3rd party planners
- If there is an Strategic Meetings Management Program in place
- What some of their meeting space needs might look like for their larger events
- Some of the criteria they have when choosing hotels to host their meetings and events
- The backgrounds of their planners
- And more!
If you would like to learn more about how to use Advanced Researcher Profiles to approach preferred vendor agreements, sign up for a free online demonstration!