12-30-06 10:57 PM - Post#154
In response to PatrickD
* Don't announce dates or a location before you sign the contract.
Corollary: Do not get hosed on the hotel contract. This is the number one reason cons die. I've seen it happen numerous times, as have others on this forum. Connecticon barely survived a $45,000 hotel bill. Robert Jenks of AnimeFEST! is the expert on hotel negotiations (he used to be a hotel manager), but here are some tips that have worked for me not only in major metropolitan areas such as Washington, DC, but also resort beach towns. Remember, this is for hotel cons only (which is how a con should start):
1) Put out an RFP (Request For Proposal) to multiple locations, even if you already have a location in mind. You can negotiate for cheaper deals by stating the lowest rate that you received (don't tell them where it came from, though).
2) Require a stipulation that you have zero dollars ($0) of space rental if you meet a certain number of room rentals. Be realistic. 50 rooms per night is probably good for a first year con, but even that number might be too high if you are in a rural area with no major cities to draw from nearby.
3) State in the RFP that a sliding scale for space rental is required in the proposal. Let's say you pay $500 per day for all your space if you meet 25 rooms a night (you'll be lucky to get it this low).
4) Do NOT ever be fiscally liable for over $5,000 in the first year. You may need to look at the fine print with a microscope but make sure this requirement is met.
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