The one part of meeting and event planning that I do not enjoy is the rush to sign contracts at month end, quarter end and year end. As a former hotelier, I understand the goals the salesperson, hotel and company need to achieve. However, we have been doing business the same way for years and I keep thinking that there has to be a better way.
Let me share with you one example. Recently, I had to track down a CEO while he was traveling in order to get the contract signed by the 30th. If he did not sign, it was made very clear by the hotel that he would lose his dates. He was going to be back in his office the next day and was willing to put in writing that he would sign the contract, as is, first thing upon his return to the office. The hotel confirmed that this option would not work. Since he was staying at a corporate apartment, he had to go to the hotel next door and ask the General Manager to help him print and scan the contract back to the hotel (a hotel that was not part of his brand by the way). Really…is this the best way for our industry to operate?
There has to be a better way and my top three thoughts for reducing stress and improving this process are:
- Hotels and planners work together to establish a realistic timeframe with due dates for both parties (factoring in the site inspection, Board Meeting, travel schedules, etc.).
- Set the middle of the month (15th) as the due date so if it spills over a day or two, both parties will still be fine in meeting end of month deadlines.
- Implement the same technology the real estate industry has adopted so we can transact business via electronic signatures (i.e. DocuSign).
What suggestions to you have to improve the signing of contracts at month end, quarter end and year end?