Hotel Packages for Businesses [Meetings and Conferences]
How much does it cost to hold a business meeting at a hotel?
Hotels look at meetings as itemized proceedings, and they charge you one invoiced line at a time.
This practice makes it difficult to budget for an event and plan for unexpected costs. That’s part of the reason why so many businesses prefer to purchase meeting packages.
Corporate conference and event planners can use a hotel that offers these packages to hold their gatherings. When they do, the benefits extend far beyond budgeting.
Before you book your next business meeting, read through this article to see what’s included in hotel conference packaging plans — and how they make your job easier.
What Is a Complete Meeting Package?
An easy way to explain the “complete meeting package” is that it’s a fixed, per-person, per-day cost for the event host.
The most attractive feature of going this route for planners is that there shouldn’t be any surprise additions to the final invoice.
Also called a daily delegate rate or an all-inclusive plan, complete meeting packages can save a pile of work for everyone involved. The rate includes the space, food and beverage selections, audio-visual needs and other essentials.
How Does the Complete Meeting Package Work?
Packaged meetings have long been common in Europe. Hotels in those countries typically offer default meeting packages to event planners, and it’s an expected part of setting up a venue.
The practice works so well that it’s spreading to countries outside of Europe. In the United States, it’s rapidly becoming a service that thousands of businesses look for when choosing a hotel for their event. The entire process is more straightforward and simplifies cost management.
Corporate event venue packages combine the numerous elements of hosting a meeting into one flat daily rate. The idea is that the total per-person cost should average out to something comparable to the price of a la carte services, without the hassle.
Without booking a complete package, the corporate planner receives only the meeting room and meeting equipment. Everything else is added on in a per item, per line method.
You’ll still need to pay for accommodations, food and beverage services, amenities, decor, help, etc. This can get complicated — and pricey.
When the Experts Are in Charge, Your Planning is Easier
For the typical meeting planner, having someone who knows what they’re doing create a package for them is ideal. The planner doesn’t have to deal with a list of vendors, price comparisons, deposits and other factors that often delay the booking process.
As the cherry on top, the cost is usually per-attendee rather than per element, making it easier to manage expenses.
What Are the Main Types of Meeting Packages?
In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all meeting package that works for everyone. Factors like a boardroom vs. conference room, flip charts or LCD projectors and other event services are specific to the business.
Hotels offer event coordinators their choice of various packages because a multiple-day conference will need substantially different items than a half-day event.
In general, business meeting packages include essentials such as:
- A meeting space
- Audio-visual equipment
- Lunch and beverages (like coffee and water)
You can add more amenities if you desire.
These packages break down into half-day, full-day and overnight options. Here, we’ll explain what you’ll typically see in each one.
The half-day package is ideal for people hosting a meeting expected to last at least two hours but no longer than five. These allow for one break, planned and coordinated by the hotel.
This break is typically in a centralized area located outside the meeting space. Your guests will have a selection of snacks and healthy beverages as they network in between sessions. This convenience comes in the package, making it one less thing you’ll need to budget for.
One thing to note is that the menu is the same for everyone. Most venues will include vegetarian meal options, but if you have someone with a specific dietary restriction, bring that up to the hotel.
Full-day events are those that last at least six hours and no longer than ten. Included in this time frame are multiple breaks and an extended lunch break.
These packages also have snacks and beverages during breaks, but you can add a lunch provided by the hotel. Again, if there are dietary restrictions, the hotel should be able to accommodate them with notice.
If you expect the all-day meeting to last six to ten hours, you may wish to allow your guests to stay overnight. There are packages to make this happen effortlessly.
You’ll receive the same break amenities and options that include lunch and dinner for the first day. Guests will have lodging accommodations and a continental breakfast before checking out the following day.
They’ll also have full access to the hotel and all it affords, such as the fitness center, pools, shops and restaurants.
You can extend your overnight package for the length of your conference. Since you’re paying per person, this option usually provides the best rates compared to booking rooms separately.
You may also like: 10 Hotel Amenities Growing in Popularity
What Are the Pros and Cons of Packaged Meetings?
Although the “packed meeting” service is relatively new in the U.S., European hotels have been offering them for years. Our hotels have adopted this approach as their working models.
Many companies are happy to let the hotel do the hard work and include everything under one price. However, other businesses still prefer a completely customized event — line-by-line itemization and all.
Which method is best for you?
As with anything that comes with a packaged option, there are pros and cons to taking this route while planning your next event. We’ve listed them here for you to consider.
The Advantages of Meeting Packages
The exact advantages to a package will depend on what services the hotel includes, but in general, the main perks include:
- Manageable cost planning
- Expertly designed services by the hotel’s experienced planners
- Multiple packages to suit most schedules and requirements
- Time efficiency from following a pre-set schedule
- Higher quality hospitality services
It’s always a burden off your shoulders when someone else handles the nitty-gritty details. Should your A/V equipment malfunction or the Wi-Fi lose connection, all you must do is tell the hotel. They’ll fix the problem or find another satisfactory solution for you and your guests.
Disadvantages of Meeting Packages
So far, so good, right?
Meeting packages are a great choice for people who prefer to delegate the planning to a third party. For companies that don’t have a designated event planner, it’s a no-brainer.
But it’s not necessarily always the best option for every business.
Before you sign the contract for the first hotel meeting plan you see, make sure you’ve accounted for these concerns:
- You’re paying per person. If you have many guests attending and expect few cancellations, this can be highly cost-effective. On the other hand, you do run the risk of wasting money on paying for people who don’t show up.
- You don’t have as many options for customization. Hotels do make an effort to give you several packages to choose from in order to best suit your needs, but you won’t be able to make it completely your own.
- If you’re booking lodging, the package likely includes the basic rooms. If you want to treat your guests to a more premium experience, you may be better off booking separately.
- Food and beverage choices are the same for everyone. If you have a handful of people with dietary restrictions, the hotel should be willing to make exceptions, but there may be a limit to what they can accommodate.
Don’t be afraid to shop around. Just because one hotel can’t accommodate your event’s needs doesn’t mean there isn’t another package out there that will work out better. Especially if you’re visiting a popular location, there should be a number of options to choose from.
How Can I Negotiate a Meeting Package for My Next Event?
Event planners will often go back and forth with hotels over the details and pricing of their packages before signing a contract.
There may be room for negotiation over certain possible upgrades or the inclusion of extra amenities like Wi-Fi and A/V support.
Hotels may also sometimes agree to lower rates to win the business of a large event.
But only an experienced negotiator with extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry can secure the best deals.
Instead of trying to negotiate the best deal possible, if this isn’t your area of expertise, hand it off to Hotel Engine’s expert Groups team.
Why Hotel Engine is the Name You Can Trust
Hotel Engine’s success stems from our years of experience digging deep into the ins and outs of corporate lodging, and learning how to better connect corporate travelers with the hotels that want their business. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and we’ve developed relationships with hundreds of hotel brands.
Ready to start planning your next corporate event?
Our Groups team can handle the entire process of finding and coordinating your venue.
Benefits of the Groups Team
Working with Hotel Engine’s Groups team offers a range of benefits:
- You’ll see substantial cost and time savings; you don’t have to source, negotiate, or book your own hotels
- We’ll learn about your needs and provide a list of hotels that match them
- Our cancellation policies are flexible and unique to each project to account for any early departures
- Centralized billing and reporting features help you maintain rooming lists and handle any incidentals
- Reconciliation is done for you to ensure accurate billing
- You’ll have our operational support all the time, even on the weekends
Save time and money at every phase of planning your event. Let the expert members of Hotel Engine’s Groups team handle the details and get you the best rates.
Corporate events and business trips are a tried-and-true way to boost company morale and productivity. Done right, they’ll bring you a return on your investment.
Still, we all want to know we’re getting the most value for our money. A corporate hotel meeting package can make this easier for you, helping you budget and reducing planning stress.
To truly get the most bang for your buck, let the experts do the job for you. Hotel Engine’s Groups team will negotiate the best rates and top amenities for your event.
The result? A final package you’ll love, at a great rate, with a fraction of the headaches.
Sign up for Hotel Engine’s free platform to get started now!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.