It was an interesting experience this week. I requested rooms for 150 people and was quoted over the rack rate + catering. We began to drill down with this as a group. One member stated less than $300 (inclusive of catering) on a conference call as we were all listening. They acquiesced. We got the room rate to $159 (from $249), then I went to work on the convention facility. We negotiated the room rate to $159, the meeting room rental from $5000/day to $1000. We were able to achieve free internet access for all of the hotel rooms (usually $11.99 per).
Bottom line, use your skills.
Hopefully, you have found this helpful. It saved us thousands.