Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 08 2015

Should You Use Third-Party Firms for Hotel Contracts?

Jill Formeister, Chair, GMC Communications Committee
Should an organization do its own hotel contracts, or rely on a third-party firm instead?

This was the question posed at the June 24 Association Forum Meeting Professionals SIG meeting entitled “DIY Hotel Contracts – A Good Idea or Good Riddance?”

Deidre Irwin Ross, MHA, CMP, CAE, Director, Convention & Meeting Planning, American Veterinary Medical Association, moderated the discussion. Panelists included Tonya Almond, Vice President, Meetings & Continuing Education, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; Bob Kobosky, Vice President, Global Accounts and SMM, Conference Direct; and Keri Kelly, Director of Hotel Industry Relations, onPeak|GES.

Planners shared stories about previously negotiated contracts which cost their associations a good deal of money. Third parties offer expertise that planners might lack, plus market share that often can result in favorable terms for their clients.

Following are key takeaways from this discussion:


Tonya: Know your own story and tell it. Be fair to the hotels.

Bob: Third-party companies should ask, “What’s on the client’s plate and how can the company help?” He noted that third parties can save the planners a lot of time in dealing with increasingly complex contracts, while bringing new ideas on how to do things and how to grow.
Keri: onPeak|GES wants the event to be seamless for all parties involved in a meeting or event. This focus helps planners and their organizations achieve success.

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