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Location Setting the Date Negotiations Timeline 


Site selection and contract negotiations with vendors and suppliers can be a daunting task. The information in this section is meant to educate you on what the GSA Meeting Coordinator will be doing to prepare for your meeting. By using GSA to coordinate these tasks you can concentrate on preparing the technical program, field trips, and other events. In many cases you’ll serve as a resource by providing information about local facilities, lodging, parking, restaurants, transportation, etc. It’s important that you contact GSA before you start planning your meeting to ensure we work together to accomplish our objective.

24 Months in Advance
The Local Chair should call GSA and discuss setting up an appointment with the Convention Bureau or Chamber of Commerce in your city. Discuss the requirements you have established and the type of facility or facilities you would like. Find out:
  which facilities can accommodate your group
  contact names (directors of sales) at the above facilities
  room rates of the above (which should be negotiable)
  does the Bureau provide a hotel reservations service? Cost? Policies/Procedures? Restrictions? Deadlines?
NOTE: If available, you should definitely consider this service if using more than 1 or 2 hotels
The GSA Meetings Coordinator and the Local Chair should meet with the hotel properties suggested by the Convention Bureau. You are also welcome to choose other facilities not represented by the Bureau. Go over your requirements Again and make it clear that you are considering other properties and that your selection will be based on best price and service.
  See the sample of a GSA Annual Meeting hotel contract in the back of this chapter. There is also a hotel contracts checklist. GSA contracts incorporate all of the items mentioned in this checklist–plus some. We recommend you use a similar format for your hotel contracts. Have the hotel Sales Manager from each property fill it out and return it to you within a couple of weeks.
GSA's Meeting Coordinator can discuss room rates for each type of accommodation: single, double, triple, Quad, suite. Try and obtain the same rate for single and double, if possible.
Discuss setting up a Master Account and how it will be used.
The GSA Meetings Coordinator and the Local Chair should have the hotel Sales Manager give you a tour of the property that includes meeting rooms, sleeping rooms, registration area, exhibits, poster sessions, technical sessions, and offices.
The GSA Meetings Coordinator and the Local Chair should meet with the Reservations Manager:
  Ask about experience with the Housing Bureau.
  Discuss the procedure explained to you by the Housing Bureau. Be sure that the Reservation Manager agrees with the system.
  Discuss the housing cut-off date and what happens after that date.
  Discuss a block of rooms for your VIPs to receive special rooms (suites, parlor rooms), or for special requirements (complimentary rooms, rooms charged to the Master Account).
20 Months in Advance
GSA will review all contracts.
Make your decision on the best site for your meeting. GSA will use the GSA Master Hotel Contract and include anything the hotel verbally proposed.
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Sales people at hotels change often and it is hard to prove that someone committed something to you verbally.
12 Months in Advance
Confirm everything by revisiting the properties. Find out what new bookings have occurred that would affect your meeting.
Bring a checklist and plans for all the space. Plan session rooms, exhibit area, registration area, and offices in detail. Be specific. Use scaled drawings.
9 Months in Advance
Submit information on housing to the Local Committee Chair, who may want to include some basic housing information in the first meeting announcement.
6 Months in Advance
The GSA Meetings Coordinator and the Local Chair should reconfirm in writing the most important parts of your agreements with properties. Meet the person who will actually implement your plans.
3 Months in Advance
The Local Chair should prepare a detailed plan book and description of special needs for the meeting. Distribute this plan to the properties involved. Share this information with your other committee chairs.
1 Month in Advance
Review this plan book in detail during a pre-convention meeting with the staff and other chairmen who are involved. Consult GSA as needed.
1 Week in Advance
Go over changes since the last meeting. Confirm everything. Review the move-in process for offices, exhibits, and the registration area; check-in process for guests; information on field trips, guarantees for meals; and other arrangements particularly important for the first days of the meeting. Consult GSA as needed.