This is a provision in a contract that outlines damages to be paid to the non-canceling party if a cancellation occurs. Notwithstanding any language in the contract to the contrary, a party may always cancel a contract; the issue is whether damages are owed for the cancellation and, if so, how much.
Force Majeure Clause
This is a contract provision that allows a party to suspend or terminate the conference when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making it inadvisable, impracticable, illegal or impossible to hold the meeting.
Sleeping Room Reservations
A portion of a hotel’s inventory of rooms set aside for a particular period of time for a group. The room block rate is no longer available after the cutoff date.
The date in advance of the meeting until which the hotel is legally obligated to hold rooms on behalf of the group at the group rate. Once the cutoff date passes, the hotel can release rooms for general sale. Typically that date is 30 days in advance of the meeting.
When a group doesn’t live up to the room-block commitment, a payment is required to make up for the rooms not used, per the terms of the contract.
A hotel makes two reservations for a hotel room in order to be certain of obtaining one.
This is when a hotel walks their guests to another hotel accommodation because they have overbooked by a small percentage.
A hotel makes two reservations for a meeting room in order to be certain of obtaining one.
Event Order (EO)
An agreement that details each day of the conference and for each meeting room. It also outlines the costs and includes:
- Food and beverage ordered
- Audio visual ordered
- The room setup
- Staffing requirements
- Service fees and taxes
- Timeline of room setup, AV setup and food
Be certain to review this document in advance of your meeting with your Catering or Conference Services Manager while you are on-site after that portion of the conference is over. At the end of each day, it is best to review that day’s banquet checks to ensure your charges and the hotel’s line up.
Food and Beverage
Minimum Guarantee: This is the number of servings or a flat rate your company will pay regardless of how many individuals come to your event. In other words, if your guarantee is for 5,000 people and 4,500 show up, you will be paying for the full 5,000 because that is your minimum. This is usually due three to five business days prior to the event.
Open Bar: This is a bar in which the drinks have been paid for by the host or are prepaid through an admission fee. If you decide to utilize this option, be certain the bartenders and wait staff are trained in understanding when a guest should not be served any longer, have limited hours to deter intoxication and ensure there are alternative transportation options available if guests are planning on driving home from the venue.
Other fees that need to be identified in your contract
These charges can be included in your contract if you do not negotiate them out or come up with a reasonable fee before the contract is signed. Be sure to ask about all of these fees:
- Airport shuttle
- Resort fee
- In-room bottled water and snacks
- Early/late hotel room checking in and out
- Meeting room energy surcharge
- Grounds keeping fee
- In-room safe