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August 23rd, 2012

In Tuesday’s Part 1, we began defining the essential terms of hotel venue contracts (a study you should finish up with your attorney, if necessary). Today we will continue with the terms Be Prepared when Booking the HotelGroup Cancellation, Group Rate, Meeting Space, Reservation Method, and Room Block.

Group Cancellation

Like Attrition and Performance, Group Cancellation clauses can be misunderstood. However, the clause is not invoked nearly as often as Attrition, and most hotels will specify a penalty for cancelled events, whatever the reason, often on a sliding scale (how large an event, how early it is cancelled and so on). You want all this tightened up before investing in trade show equipment rentals, that’s for sure.

Group Rate

When you negotiate for rooms, you will encounter the Group Rate, which is affected by the rates for different room types (single, double, triple, multi-occupancy suites). The hotel guarantees this rate for reservations made after the contract is signed and before the Cut-off Date (see Part 1). The rate should be lower than that offered individual travelers, and “set in stone” (read, “written in the contract”) so attendees can make an informed decision.

Meeting Space

Planning a conference requires you to determine the proper amount of meeting space. You may need tables and chairs for a dozen desktop PC rental units, a dining hall for a keynote luncheon, or “all of the above” (and more). The contract should therefore describe the rooms, their dimensions and seating capacity, date/time availability and the exact fees. Meeting space is sometimes included at no cost. If you don’t think you’re a tough enough negotiator to get it, study up or get (paid) professional help.

Reservation Method

Even with a signed contract, attendees at your event need reservations. Having a Room Block (below) does not mean attendees can simply show up and check in. All attendees bring unique needs – different arrival/departure dates, smoking and handicap preferences, single/multiple occupancy room, etc. – so they should handle their own reservations. There are different ways to do it – some easier for the hotel, others for the meeting coordinator – but online registration programs have simplified the process tremendously.

Room Block

This simply means the number of rooms that the hotel will hold for a group on particular dates at agreed rates. As the foundation of the hotel venue contract, the Room Block guarantees a rate for a specific period of time. After the contract is signed, the hotel takes the rooms off the market and attendees must make reservations before the Cut-off Date. Such room details as ensuring Wireless Internet Access for your iPad rentals should be handled at this point if not previously negotiated for the group as a whole.

Call or e-mail a knowledgeable Account Executive about your upcoming conference and we’ll make it a real winner. Know what you need? Visit our Quick Rental Quote page and you’ll be in and out in no time!

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