by Matt Alderton | June 09, 2018
Meeting planners spend their days trying to plan the most productive meetings possible. Because their livelihoods depend on it, however, third-party planners must be equally focused on planning the most profitable meetings possible.
Recent commission cuts by major hoteliers -- Marriott, Hilton, and InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) -- have made that endeavor more difficult than ever before, according to Successful Meetings Senior Editor Leo Jakobson.

"I will lose money when I do a meeting with Marriott, Hilton, or IHG at this point, because it costs me eight points to pay my sales reps and to be on property for the meeting, and I'm only getting paid seven," David Bruce, managing director of CMP Meeting Services and founder of Meeting Planners Unite, tells Jakobson. "Many other third parties are going to be in the same situation. The margin is very low for most meeting planning companies."

If you're among the third-party planners feeling a pinch, there's a solution, according to Jakobson: You need to rewrite your standard contract.

Meeting planner Karen Brown, chief experiential officer of Members Inc., is doing exactly that. "Brown's new contracts will include a provision stating that the client will compensate her firm for anything under the 10 percent commission," reports Jakobson, who says meeting planners can successfully transition to a fee-based business model by being more transparent with clients about how they are -- or aren't -- compensated. "Transparency is vital for any planner, regardless of whether they are paid via commission, fee, or a combination of the two."

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