Contract Negotiations

Key Benefits of Our Contract Negotiation Services

Expertise. Over 20 years of expertise means we know how to identify and minimize risks.

Personal Approach. We work directly with you to establish the overall meeting objectives, then tailor the contract accordingly, setting up protection against unfair liabilities while meeting your goals.

Cultural Sensitivity. There are cultural nuances to negotiations. Our event planning experience in both the USA and European markets including Austria, England, France, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Italy and Sweden equips us with a deep understanding of how to approach the bargaining table with respect for proper protocol.

John F. Kennedy once said, "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

How true.

In 2005 we organized a four-day engineering conference in Baltimore for 100 attendees who came from all over the USA and Europe.

Everything was proceeding as carefully planned: name badges were printed, speakers were ready, rooms were set to the optimal meeting design, the food and beverage was taken care of, including various dietary requirements.

And as always, we had issued our routine emergency preparedness outline, which, it turned out, was put into action on the second day.

As I was preparing to unroll the next phase of the conference, I checked the online weather report and there I saw a severe weather warning for the Baltimore area. A Category 4 hurricane originally forecast to hit Florida, was now headed straight for us. There was no time to waste. The safety of participants and clients is always a planner's first priority.

"I'm terribly sorry," I said to my client, Christine, "we need to cut the meeting short. If we don't there's a real possibility of danger for all involved." Christine immediately agreed.

But when she and I approached the hotel representatives, they tried to convince us otherwise.

"The hurricane won't be as bad as the forecast predicts. But If you cancel," they added, "we regret to inform you that a $30,000 cancellation fee will be levied."

It is moments like this, where expert negotiation skills come in extremely handy.

With JFK's wise words echoing in my mind, I retrieved the contract, which I had originally negotiated, and requested a sit down with the hotel's top decision maker.

When I next stood up, the contract was in its original condition; no changes were made, no charges were levied, and everyone returned home safe and sound.

Post Script: Even though the hurricane was eventually downgraded to Category 2, the result was that downtown Baltimore was flooded, and the conference hotel, and the airports were shut down. Fortunately, we made sure all our participants had vacated the day before.

Here's what the client had to say:

I have been contracting the services of To Plan Ahead for over two years. To Plan Ahead provides excellent service and is always professional. I rely on To Plan Ahead to negotiate all aspects of the meeting contract (room rate, meals, internet services for rooms, office equipment rental, etc).

Over the past couple of years, we have unfortunately had to cancel or shorten meetings with very little notice--in one instance we were in the path of a hurricane! Linda negotiated with the hotels to minimize penalties--and in the case of the hurricane, we owed nothing! I wouldn't dream of doing business any other way!

Christine King, EPRI