I am writing to my fellow meeting planning professionals from the desk in my hotel room while on-site with one of my groups. This client was canceled by the originally contracted hotel and forced to find another location only eleven (11) months prior to their event. As I sit here, I am reminded of the original contract and the protections it provided or the circumstances could have been even worse (trust me, I have made dramatic changes going forward as we did still have to move the program).
This information is not intended to offer any legal advice, only to share with you some of the items that are on my checklist when I am reviewing hotel contracts. This also assumes that you have the dates and meeting space and are now reviewing the points of negotiation within the agreement.
The list of all items is much longer, but the following are my ‘Top 10 Checklist Items’:
1. Room rates
a. Available pre- and post-convention dates
b. Spread between single, double, triple and quad
c. Reduced rate for staff
d. No lower rate clause
a. Complimentary items- i.e. rooms, amenities, transfers, etc.
3. Cut-off Date
a. Number of days (14 is the preference)
b. Name changes allowed after cut-off
c. Group rates available after cut-off
a. Guest rooms
b. Meeting space
a. Audit – rooms captured are credited to block regardless of room rate or reservation method
b. Resell rooms – credit for the rooms that are resold
6. Cancellation – it is best to include examples.
a. Liquidated damages- based on profit
c. Resell rooms
d. Change of owner, brand, management company/Hotel Condition
Based on my experience, address what will happen if the hotel cancels the event.
7. F&B Pricing
a. Lock into pricing so you can establish a budget
b. Ability to customize menus to fit needs and budget
8. F&B Minimums
a. Fair and based on client program and history
a. Due dates
b. Amounts that are fair and reasonable
10. Service Fees – Most are not negotiable, however, administrative and other added fees can be addressed:
a. Miscellaneous fees – group not liable for any additional charges after contract execution
b. Right to bring in own equipment at no extra charge
Our story is ending well as the host hotel is doing a great job and our client is very happy (they are talking about bringing their future programs here versus the original hotel).
I hope the ‘Top 10’ list I have shared will help you with your next contract review. What are your top 10 items?