At least once a day we get a call to let us know about an agenda change. Sometime this happens prior to signing the hotel contract and yet, it also happens once the contract has been signed.
We hear the panic in your voice when you have to cancel the meeting, add guestrooms, increase the number of breakout meeting rooms, etc. And, often you tell us “I’m sorry” when contacting us for help. Rest assured, you are not alone as Plans Change.
It’s challenging to know exactly how many guestrooms you need and a final meeting agenda months prior to the actual meeting dates when you are looking for a hotel to host your offsite meeting and preparing to sign the contract. You do your best to convey to the hotel exactly what you need to insure your commitment of guestrooms and food & beverage minimums are met. But what happens when you get thrown a curve ball and have to start making changes? How can you protect yourself when contracting with a hotel for the anticipated agenda changes that occur?
Any increased changes (more guestrooms or suites, additional meeting & banquet space) needs to be addressed in an Addendum which the hotel will prepare and send you. Both parties, you and the hotel, sign the addendum which revises the originally signed commitment.
There are some contract clauses you will want to be sure to add to the hotel contract such as a Rebooking Clause, as well as modifying the standard Cut-Off Date, Attrition & Cancellation Clauses offered by the hotel. The Rebooking Clause is inserted underneath the Cancellation grid and it states that if you cancel the meeting you may use those cancellation fees toward another meeting at the hotel to take place within one year from the date of the scheduled meeting.
We recommend that you have a cut-off date as close to the arrival date as possible. The standard cut-off date is 30 days prior to arrival yet we request a cut-off date of two or three weeks prior to arrival to give you the extra time you need to fill your room block. Request 25% attrition so that you have more wiggle room to decrease the amount of guests you guarantee and can reduce up to 25% without penalty. And in regard to cancellation, never agree to paying cancellation penalties for food & beverage more than 30 days prior to arrival. Lastly, if the hotel is giving you 25% attrition agree to no more than 75% cancellation penalties within 30 days prior to arrival.
These added clauses will protect you from making unnecessary payments that when carefully negotiated will help you stay within budget and minimize total meeting spend.