SpeakerNet News Compilations

Bartering with Hotels

Rita Risser

Page Sponsors
How to sponsor this page

A hotel has asked me to do part of a job in trade, and I want to make sure I ask for everything imaginable. Besides top-of-the-line room, all meals, business center and health club access, no time limit on when I use the room, able to use at any of several properties, transferable to anyone else, what else should I ask for?

-- Bill Hodges

[First, some bad news]

I had a friend barter with a hotel, in fact a chain and he really enjoyed the use of the rooms, giving several to relatives. About two years later he got a letter from IRS and was called in for an audit. The hotel had submitted a 1099 on the total cost of the rooms at the highest possible rate and the same with all of the other amenities. If he had used the rooms for only business reasons he would have been okay, as it would have been a direct write-off, but many nights were without a legitimate business purpose and he was stuck with thousands of dollars of tax. Suggest that in your negotiation you set a specific room rate so there will be no surprises. The same for all other amenities.

Rita's note: I would also say to the hotel, "This is going to be taxable to me, so at a minimum I will need 40% (or whatever your tax bracket is) in cash."

-- Rebecca Morgan

Get a testimonial letter, have them send to 10 of their GM pals in places you want to work, and perhaps negotiate for your credit to be OK if used for F&B/catering so you could hold a client appreciation party there, or a public program, or just a party for your pals.

And of course, negotiate for the best room available! And don't trade for rack rate, trade against the best rate available for the time you want to stay.

-- Resli Costabell

I'd ask for some of the payable services at the health club: 1/2 hour with a personal trainer, massage, manicure, etc. They may need to say no, if their staff are freelancers rather than employees.

More ideas:

  • Free laundry service.
  • Newspaper/s in the morning. (although this could look a little cheap on your part!)
  • Free phone calls, up to X minutes in national calls. Promise no international or premium rate calls!
  • Free WiFi access
  • Not have to pay for pay TV or for videos
  • Maybe something about getting a cut rate on the hotel's conference facilities if you're ever presenting there and paying for the venue yourself?
  • No extra charge for room service.
  • In addition to all meals, all refreshments. If you fancy a glass of OJ midmorning, you get it!
  • You could go wild and ask for the 'presidential suite' or the honeymoon suite.
  • Free parking or free taxi service.

-- Sharon Adcock

Free hi-speed Internet access.

Biz centers aren't necessarily open when you need them or might be run by a third party, in which case the hotel may not be able to promise biz center access.

-- Tim Richardson

How about meeting room space?

Have them write other hotel GM's in their market.

-- Michael Podolinsky

If you can make it for "anything I can charge to my room" you have the "golden ticket." Some properties may have massage or water sports you can charge to your room. Also, Internet and phone can be expensive as you know. Most hotels barter for what they offer and do not like to do the "anything..." rule because dry cleaning might be outsourced, the restaurants are licensed as could be the spa. Would you use the barter for a public seminar or entertaining clients? If so, did you include banqueting and convention services?

-- Fire "Captain Bob" Smith

Consider asking for the house car limo during your stay, massages, room with a view, Internet access, a connecting room for your guests, laundry service, discounts at stores they reciprocate with, mini-bar, bar and wine services, flowers in the room, movies, etc., airport limo pick up and drop off, a free hotel robe if you want to haul it home, and meals at their upscale on-site restaurants.

-- Dave Crisp

Some of the things I can think of might be: dry cleaning or related, packed lunches for outside activities, valet parking or pick-up and drop-off at the airport, etc. (hotels often have limo's, cars and transfer vehicles to meet people with), maybe even use of a hotel vehicle although I don't know what liability/insurance issues might be entailed there, also any perks they share with other organizations in reciprocal trade-off arrangements (those might be interesting -- if they're in the habit of making these trade-off arrangements, who knows what other discounts they're accessing from other vendors, theatres, for example or other services -- concierge services sometimes access discounted tickets, spa's or golf fees, boat rentals, barber or hairdressing (sometimes even in-room versions of these), etc.). I'm sure things can get more exotic depending on locations -- fishing and hunting guides, translators, etc.

-- Holly Stiel

I know this better than I would like to! Make sure there is no expiration date or blackout times if that is appropriate. It is probably not appropriate to do a trade during a very busy time. Make sure you have spa services included and not just access to the health club. (Sometimes they are two separate companies but they both may want to get in on a trade situation) If you trade dollar for dollar on the retail value they are getting a great deal. Instead of saying meals say Includes all Food and Beverage Outlets including Room Service and alcohol. (Meals is too vague)

If you will be driving include all parking charges including valet service. Also be sure tips are a part of the trade so if you have a hundred dollar meal and leave a $20 tip the hotel takes care of the entire bill. Other gratuities such as bell and door can't really be charged. If you want to include laundry and mini bar add it on. (Mini bar should be an F and B outlet but may need to be spelled out.) Also make sure when you decide to do the trade that you call and get specials such as a package like a golf package, that way you will get much more for your money.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions