Model Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics. He took on the role of meeting planner to negotiate with a hotel where his campaign was holding an event. But instead of dealing directly with the hotel’s event staff, he made his demands for price reduction to the assembled crowd of supporters.
His complaint? The temperature in the ballroom. He declared on stage,
I think it’s actually cooler outside than it is in this damn ballroom. Ridiculous. Ridiculous
Trump’s campaign held the event at Hilton’s Curio Collection property Hotel Roanoke in Virginia.
Credit: Hotel Roanoke
He went on to describe the hot room as an implied breach of contract by the hotel, and threatened not to pay the bill for his town hall event.
If we are in a ballroom, it’s not supposed to be so hot that everybody in the audience is using a fan. You ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we’re not going to get you paid.
Trump returned to the theme of the room being too darned hot multiple times in his speeches, shaming the hotel.
He said that air conditioning can be expensive, “but this is ridiculous.”
“I think the ballroom and the people who own this hotel should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said.
Credit: Hotel Roanoke
The hotel says the a/c was working, but Trump’s team kept the doors open to the outside for several hours in 90+s temperatures. According to the Hotel Roanoke, the air conditioning was set at 63 degrees, ‘as low as it could possibly go’ and it was ‘running at 99% efficiency’.
The question here, is what does “Donald Trump the Meeting Planner” say about “Donald Trump the Negotiator?”
- Telling the crowd you’re not going to pay doesn’t mean you’re not going to pay.
- The speaker (Trump) also probably doesn’t have full information, he just knows he’s hot and assumes it’s the fault of the hotel.
- He could be trying to signal a credible commitment — a position he’s locked into, so the hotel knows they have to bargain, since you have no way to save face other than to extract concessions from the property.
- If they don’t give you anything though you lose more than a discount on the meeting bill since you’ve told the world you’re a great negotiator and that you’ll negotiate a discount.
- That puts the hotel in a strong position to give you the minimum you need to declare victory at low cost to the property.
- This is also not likely repeat business for the property, and campaigns are notorious for not paying bills. Many vendors require full prepayment from campaigns.
What would the Art of the Deal suggest about negotiating publicly versus privately over hotel meeting price concessions in this circumstance?
(HT: Point Me to the Plane)