Site selection and negotiating a contract are very important components of the meeting planning process. The meeting's success depends largely on these two factors.

A good or bad overall meeting experience determines whether or not attendees return to the meeting next year.  One contributing factor is the first impression:

  • What’s the first thing an attendee notices?  The Venue
  • How nice is it? 
  • How helpful is the staff? 
  • How easy was it to get there?
  • How pleasant is the room?
  • How accessible is the meeting space? 

Finding the right venue matters.  The venue should fit the goals and the program.


The contract also matters. A written document which includes everything a hotel offers a group as well as protection clauses for both the hotel and the group helps to eliminate disputes later.

A contract documents all aspects of a meeting or conference with regard to a specific venue. The most negotiated items include:

  • Room block and room rate
  • Date of meeting
  • Meeting space
  • Attrition for guest rooms and food & beverage
  • Cancellation

Additional clauses to include in a contract:

  • Change in management, ownership or franchise affiliation
  • Reverse cancellation
  • Hotel performance; hotel construction/renovations
  • Mitigation to sell/resell
  • Room block:

Walking a guest
Mis-coded room nights: rooms credited to block regardless of rate
Room cancellation fee credited to group

  • Late reservations
  • Hotel surcharges
  • Resort fee, early check-in/check-out fee, additional person fee, Wi-Fi fee, parking fee, fitness center fee, housekeeping gratuity and bellman gratuity to name a few
  • Use of outside vendors (exhibit services, audio visual)
  • Drayage charges for shipping/receiving
  • Noise and disturbance
  • Comprehensive force majeure clause

Additional items to negotiate are too numerous to list, however the following are some examples:

  • Complimentary rooms
  • VIP amenities
  • Coffee @ $$
  • Free or discounted parkinig
  • Upgraded rooms
  • Staff room rate
  • Soft drinks and water @ $$
  • Audio visual discount or option to bring your own

Be sure to negotiate everything you can because once you sign a contract, there is no more negotiating.

We have a saying in the industry: "Before you sign, you are negotiating; after you sign, you are begging."

How can The Planning Connection, Inc. help you?  Find out now