A lot of planners feel as though if you receive every concession possible, you have the advantage with a venue, but unfortunately that is not true. If you are "bleeding" a venue dry of all price reductions, concessions and upgrades, it could come back to bite you. If a venue feels as though this program not revenue worthy, they may treat you as such, which could be detrimental to you on site. That could be exemplified with the possibility of reduced staff & labor, minimal food quantities, neglect by the sales person and/or a genuine feeling as though your business is not valued. I am a strong advocate of bringing business to where it is appreciated, and if you create an atmosphere prior that is shy of that experience, your clients could really suffer.
Understanding a venue's revenue stream and the sales person's goals is half the battle. If you can view the perspective of the opposing negotiator, it will be more obtainable for the planner to reach the contract goals. Plus, building a working relationship with the venue that continues beyond the event, can also help the entire process and pave the way for future contract goals.
As a planner and negotiator, you should always have three columns of negotiating points including "What You Need, What You Would Like to Have and What You Don't Care About". Which, could range from pricing, to types of food, to service needs to suites to additional decor. With that document in place, always start with "What You Need" and explain the importance to the sales person, let them understand your event goals, and you will be amazed with the outcome! As in life, you can't always get everything, but if you can get the things that matter, and you should feel good with a job well done!
Going forward, this method will also allow the sales person to better appreciate your group and help to accommodate with more concessions for future events.
Try it, you will be surprised!