Here is a situation that a lot of us have the power to do something about but don’t: service charges on F&B.
Are they negotiable? Ask the hotels, and they will tell you “no.” Usually, that is correct. But with service fees inching their way up to 23 percent (which I personally think is ludicrous), I see some clients are starting to negotiate the fees. They basically say, “You want this rooms contract? You want the F&B that goes with it? Then lower service fees to a much more reasonable 21 percent.” End of story.
Also, don’t be shy about negotiating service charges on a per function level. I was doing a VIP event last week at the new Gaylord National, where the level of service wasn’t even close to the billed 22 percent. I went to the GM the next day to voice my frustrations with the service, among other things, and he promptly removed the entire service charge.
The bottom line here, folks, is you do have more flexibility than you think. So don’t be scared to use it.