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to think this hotel is being greedy?

(116 Posts)
mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 20:51:22

Ok, I know I am BU. BUT I really need advice and this gets a lot of traffic.

I am sponsoring a training event for a week at a hotel which is providing training on teaching children with autism. When I signed the contract, it was for a minimum chargeable number of 63. The event is split in 2: 2 days and 3 days. Some people come for the 2 day, some come for the 3. I have 68 people registered for the 2 day but only 49 for the 3 day.

I told this to the hotel 2 weeks ago, when numbers were still unconfirmed. I didn't get a response. Today, they have called to notify me they are charging my card in full for the event, and when I asked them to break it down, they are charging me for the 63 for the 3 day event (£1650), even though I only have 48.

Now, I understand that the minimum promised number was 63, however I hosted an event and used this same venue in October and brought them £12.5k. Not to mention the hotel rooms people booked and how busy their restaurant was as a result. This time I have paid £1400 in hotel rooms just for people I am bringing, and I know several more have also booked and paid for their own. So a TON of revenue for them. I asked them to please please charge me for the numbers I have as this is NOT a money making event (for me) really isn't, and I don't have the extra money to pay them. They said no. I then told them the type of event this is but I have a feeling the person I was speaking to can't make these decisions because she said to come in to the office Monday to speak to them and for now she will just charge for the numbers I have.

PLEASE help me negotiate this with them. I really don't have the money to pay them. How can I get them to either a) let me off or b) negotiate it down. Ideas I have are: 1) I will sign another contract to host another event there within the next 6 months (promising them about £7000), 2) meet me half way: I am over numbers on one event, but lower on another?

Has anyone ever been in this situation or work in an area where a customer is?

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 20:52:11

OH and to add: the bill I have paid came to £14,700. So they have had loads of money from me already and this doesn't include the food and drinks!!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 14-Mar-14 20:56:48

But you signed a contract for 63 people for the whole event, so that is what they are charging you for.

I think all you can do is express disappointment, and say that you will take future business elsewhere if they aren't going to be flexible on it.

Which night of the week are you under numbers for?

amicissimma Fri 14-Mar-14 20:57:16

I'd say strictly speaking that they are correct and if you have agreed then you are committed.

However, they wouldn't be getting a minute more of my custom. If possible I'd be providing a list of alternative accommodation in the area, to the delegates - so they have options. I'd tell anyone who showed the slightest bit of interest about their attitude. I wouldn't entertain your idea no. 1!

Is there another member of staff, perhaps more senior, who might be more flexible? Head Office?

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 20:57:51

I can't pay them though! They can take me to court but a court can't make you pay what you don't have. I am under for the 3 days. Over for 2.

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 20:59:27

I am hoping I will speak to someone more senior on Monday, thats why I need to know what and how to negotiate with them. Today I believe I spoke to just a worker who has no say.

I know strictly speaking I am in the wrong, but how can I get them to negotiate?

MichaelFinnigan Fri 14-Mar-14 21:00:07

Could you offer your excess people for the 2 day a special rate if they'll come for the 3 day?

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:02:56

But then there are 2 people who have booked all 5 days and not gotten a discount. What if they found out?

mymiraclebubba Fri 14-Mar-14 21:03:38

They are doing nothing wrong i am afraid. You signed a contract which is legally binding, you not having fulfilled the quota isn't their problem it is yours and you should have had a contingency fund for this sort of occurrence I am afraid.

You have two options really 1) pay up as your are legally obliged to do or 2) cancel the third day if they will allow you to

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:05:37

So you don't think they will offer any wiggle room and negotiate for a repeat customer who brings them thousands a year? I should just pay and not expect anything?

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:08:28

The contract only says this about minimum numbers. There is nothing in the legal blurb of terms at the end.

"Minimum guaranteed numbers are as agreed in the Letter of Agreement. The Client shall give written confirmationof numbers attending the event not less than 14 days prior to the function. The final numbers for which the Hotel willprepare, must be notified to the banqueting office not less than three working days (Monday/Friday excluding BankHolidays) prior to the commencement of the function. Any failure to pay deposits requested may result in thebooking being cancelled."

I gave written notice this number would be less. I guess this doesn't matter though, does it?

Sirzy Fri 14-Mar-14 21:11:22

You shouldn't have signed a contract agreeing that if you weren't happy to run the risk you would have to pay for empty spaces.

Brummiegirl15 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:01

Hi, I work for a venue and we have minimum numbers. I'm sorry to say, that if you knew they had minimum numbers, you should have made sure your numbers matched this.

Minimum numbers for a venue cover over things that aren't clear, such as power, Internet etc and the minimum numbers reflect this.

You ABVVU to call the venue greedy for asking for minimum numbers. They aren't being greedy, these are their published rates, they did tell you this, they didn't hide it, and yet you took it upon yourself to decide that you should be charged for the numbers you have.

For every booking a venue accepts that is under revenue, is taking space from someone who does pay the correct rate, how do you know this person won't get a bollocking for accepting a booking for less than the going rate? I know I would.

Whilst I appreciate you feel you can't pay, the venue is a commercial business, they aren't a charity. So yes, you are being unreasonable.

That said, you are now worried about paying. Have you signed yet? If so, was it less than 7 days ago? If so, you are within your rights to cancel. You could threaten to not hold anymore business there, plus mention previous business.

My best advice is do not kick off!!! People think if they are rude and nasty it will get them places- when actually if people are nice, then others will do what they can.
Admit the problem and they may help. But this is not the venues fault, they are a business and they spelt out their terms, which you don't with to adhere to.

Good luck

ADishBestEatenCold Fri 14-Mar-14 21:23:50

Is there a price per head per day, mandalaybay? That might be relevant when negotiating a cut.

If you originally booked for 63 people per day, that would be 315 person/days.
If (to use the amount you say you've paid as an example) the total charge is £14,700, then that is £46.66 per person/per day.

Given that it doesn't appear to include overnight accommodation, food or drink, what are you actually getting for that £14,700, OP? Is it value for money?

[Incidentally, if it is value for money you are asking the hotel to take a cut of one and a half thousand on the contracted amount, using the above figeres]

Fullpleatherjacket Fri 14-Mar-14 21:26:26

They are well within their rights to charge you according to the contract you've signed but it's worth insisting on speaking to the most senior person you can (right up to the MD if it's a chain) and outlining what you've said here. It may or may not work but at least you'll have tried.

I really don't think it's a good idea to sign anything promising another £7K when this event hasn't been filled.

WooWooOwl Fri 14-Mar-14 21:31:14

I'd agree with being nice about it.

You are the one that's not fulfilling your side of the bargain here, so it's you that needs the favour. I don't think the fact that you brought them money before will have as much weight as you seem to think, you won't be their only customer that packs out the restaurant and the bar.

All you can do is plead, and try and bump your numbers up somehow.

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:33:52

Adish Yes, its £50/head. Please tell me more about how you would negotiate it. That includes 2 tea breaks and lunch for each person. Plus free wifi. And paper and pens. Thats it. I have paid a lot extra for 3 rooms to stay in at night.

Brumme I know I am BU, I said that already. I am being nice, and I don't plan to go in threatening them. I really want to work this out. My minimum numbers last time were 55. I am going to beg them to please lower it to this and at least its less of a hit. I really don't know how I am going to pay them. I don't have credit cards, can't get a loan. It IS my fault, I did not read correctly (I was under the impression that if I give 14 days written notice its fine and that THEY guarantee they will accommodate the people). However, the fact remains that I can't pay it so not only will they not get it, they will also lose money (I do plan to do another event within 6 months).

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:35:36

I have emailed all people attending the 2 day and offered them a significant discount to come to the 3 day. Fingers crossed I get 13 people replying.

firstpost Fri 14-Mar-14 21:36:35

Ex hotel / conf centre business development manager here smile

First off, are you dealing with an independent or a chain? Either way go higher.

Realistically, I think you should use your future business as a bargaining chip. In current climate you cannot overstate this too much smile eg, perhaps you have several events planned?

If they still won't budge then in your shoes I would create a very strong email trail proving the amount of notice you had given of lower numbers. They will be on shaky ground in court if charging for meals within a delegate rate when sufficient time and notice has been given that the venue had not already incurred the cost of provisions / staff etc

Ultimately, this happens a lot. Usually a venue will end up writing off the cancellation fee as a bad debt rather than pursuing you through small claims.

I do agree, venue not being greedy <Perhaps short sighted bearing in mind goodwill> but they will be under pressure to meet targets and your booking may have prevented another one being taken.

Finally even signed terms and condition do not always stand up in court if the contract is not fair and balanced <found this out to our cost once> smile

Good luck

mymiraclebubba Fri 14-Mar-14 21:38:00

But your contract clearly states that the notification of exact numbers is so they know how many to prepare for - the minimum number still applies. You not reading and understanding the terms and conditions is your own fault and not theirs.

You need to pay them

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:38:40

Adish the £14,700 includes the accommodation I am paying for.

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:41:40

Thank you firstpost, thats very helpful (and reassuring). They are a chain. And they have a good reputation which is why I chose them and why I came back. I plan to tell them this.

ADishBestEatenCold Fri 14-Mar-14 21:53:19

£50 per head per day seems a lot. Particularly when a quick google shows the availability of standard conference rooms from about £200 per day. Even allowing for the free wifi, plus a per head price for (for example) a three course lunch, morning coffee with biscuits and afternoon tea with scones, or whatever.

Is this a London hotel?

mandalaybay Fri 14-Mar-14 21:56:07

Yes, it is. I can't see how they can justify (other than obviously its in the bloody contract) 63 people when in October it was 55. If I can get them to agree to 55 (I'll still be paying for nonexistent people), then maybe I will be in a better position to negotiate?

mymiraclebubba Fri 14-Mar-14 22:03:04

You should have negotiated the minimum number st the time you signed the contract not now you haven't been able to fill your numbers.

You can try all you want but i doubt you will get anyehere

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