Functions as the primary client liaison and lead for assigned meetings and events. Negotiates critical program components based on knowledge of client requirements from initial request through contract completion and turnover; this includes recommending supplier and destinations options and solutions. Proactively negotiates prices and contracts, and creates reasonable preliminary budgets. Communicates with Procurement Team and suppliers on a timely basis, information relative to travel program operations. Follows standard operating procedures for all sourcing activity. Negotiates and contracts between 100 - 200 programs worldwide on an annual basis, however, the scope of this position is dependent upon assigned account/programs and may vary from client to client. Performs other duties as required.Roles & Responsibilities: PROCESS MANAGEMENT:
FINANCIAL AND REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY:
- Reviews meeting request and conducts meeting qualification call with client.
- Develops and implements program and profit/negotiation strategy to achieve best price and/or enhancement consideration with suppliers, supporting the specific needs of the client.
- Utilizes knowledge of domestic and international destinations to recommend appropriate sites. Maintains knowledge of new destination options, value-priced destination options and promotional offerings.
- Gathers all the information necessary to properly source and place an event on behalf of a client, including standard availability grids from designated technology tool.
- Initiates RFP process to secure appropriate room blocks, logistical event needs, and pricing from hotels and other suppliers.
- Qualifies proposals to determine if appropriate and competitive.
- Negotiates and confirms critical program components with supplier(s) and team, utilizing basic terms and conditions, and/or modifying pre-existing master policies to meet individual client requirements.
- Meets client deadline providing availability grid based on client standards, and review with client and team.
- Tracks supplier option dates and follows-up with team members and suppliers of program status.
- Reviews all supplier contracts prior to finalization, ensuring both program specific and generic terms and conditions are accurate and legally protective of both American Express M&E and the client, including attrition dates, cancellation policies, etc. Uses appropriate authorization and addendum form to ensure consistency and accuracy.
- Conducts final negotiations with selected suppliers for best possible pricing and concessions to meet savings and spend expectations.
- Provides supplier with all appropriate documentation at sale notification including itinerary, supplier contracts, etc.
- Create meeting records in the designated meeting management system, and completes all internal documentation for the program prior to turnover.
- Conducts additional negotiations with supplier(s), such as DMC companies, and all other third party suppliers, pre and post-sale, to improve costs, profitability and/or terms of targeted program components.
- May participate in program re-negotiations or cancellation negotiations, as required.
- Achieve appropriate benchmarking metrics as per client or company requirement.
- Advises Meeting Management Team and customer of initial deposit requirement, and secures payment.
- Responsible for accurate program forecasting and updating business management systems with accurate financial and estimated budget and cost savings information as needed.
- Maintains tracking information of all tentative, sold, and canceled programs in business program management system.
- Maintains accurate records, system input, and complete file management as outlined in American Express M&E and client policies and procedures.
- Provides leadership to team and promotes positive team environment as a positive role model.
- Works closely with client to ensure program objectives are addressed, maintaining open line of communication with client to ensure understanding of expectations and client satisfaction.
- Maintains open and on-going communication with team regarding supplier utilization, key negotiations, performance and unique programming ideas. Advises team on preferred hotels, and helps direct decisions to those hotels participating in the Preferred Program.
- Partners with third party suppliers to understand and negotiate their services as needed. Advises team members as appropriate regarding new or revised information from suppliers. May be requested to manage VIP negotiations.
- Provides negotiation expertise to team members, as requested.
- Works on special projects as assigned by the Director or Operations Manager or Project Account Manager.
- May require travel to destinations worldwide, in support of client site inspections.
- Keep abreast of industry standards and trends related to responsibilities.
- Other duties as assigned
- Minimum of five years experience in project, event or meeting management, at least 2 of which are in procurement, required.
- Experiences in hotel buying required.
- Proven negotiation skills.
- Knowledge of domestic hotels and destinations required, international a plus.
- Knowledge of travel supplier operations, overall capabilities/range of services.
- Program management system experience preferred, especially with an online sourcing tool. Understanding of and ability to effect win/win solutions.
- Operations experience in hospitality industry or equivalent a plus.
- Prior successful experience in developing and maintaining key client and supplier relationships.
- Prior experience in effectively handle multiple projects/demands.
- Strong knowledge of program/event management and budget maintenance.
- College degree preferred.
- Proven aptitude for technology and/or software solutions and analytical skills required.
- Ability to travel by airplane, boat, rail and/or car.
- CMP designation a plus.
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