Contracts in general can be confusing, but your event hotel rooming block contract can be next to impossible to understand. From attrition, to amenities, to due dates all of these things are important to understand before signing on the dotted line. Hopefully the following tips will make things a little easier when working on your next contract.

Read

Really. I mean it. Read your contract. Oh the stories I could tell you about how many people are shocked to find out that they have to submit final names and details for the room block a few weeks out from their event. We could be here all day. All these items are in the contract, I promise. To avoid this and other non-reading horror stories, make sure you read the entire contract, top to bottom. Even the boring parts are important.

Should you have questions or don’t understand a specific section ask your hotel sales manager. You need to know what you are signing and how it applies to your event, even if it makes you look new or inexperienced. I would rather look like a newbie that end up paying the hotel a fee I didn’t bother to ask about and could have avoided.

Negotiate

The due date for your rooming list I mentioned above is negotiable. Fees for room drops, also negotiable. Pretty much everything in the contract can, at the very least, be discussed and potentially negotiated. The requests may not always be accommodated, but if you don’t at least ask you are doing yourself and your client a great disservice.

One of the best ways to negotiate is to start with what’s most important for your event and go from there. Extending room block due dates is usually pretty easy for most hotels, but the attrition can be a bit trickier. Keep in mind you want this to be beneficial for both parties. A good relationship with a hotel can be extremely beneficial in the long term.

Attrition

In my experience this topic seems to be the most perplexing item for most clients and planners alike. Simply put attrition helps ensure that the hotel will make a certain amount of money from your block. For example if you have a total of 100 room nights blocked and utilize 70 and you have an 80% attrition you will need to pay for an additional 10 room nights if they are not booked by you or the hotel.

Make sure to read this section carefully as it is not always as simple as my example. Some hotels require you to utilize 80% of each night booked (not total) so even if you booked an overall 80%, but didn’t make the 80% on the last night you could still end up paying. Discuss this area in detail with the Sales Manager so that you fully understand the obligations and don’t have a budget surprise later on.

Accurate Block Size

Your event is three days long and includes a welcome reception on day 0 and concludes at 3:00 PM on the last day. You do not need the same amount of rooms on all days. Not everyone stays the entire time and most people will not stay on the last day. You want to make sure that you craft a block with the hotel that has enough rooms for your attendees, but not so many rooms that you get stuck with the attrition. Check the room block from previous years and the number of nights actualized. If you don’t have these, inquire with the hotel used in prior years and make a note to get this information from the hotel at the conclusion of the event. These numbers will make the next years planning that much easier.

Out of all of these items the number one thing I can advise you to do is read the contract. I have had several instances where I have pointed out items in the contract to the hotel. It’s their contract, but they are not all the same (negotiating!). If I hadn’t read it they could have easily had me pay unnecessary fees or not give me all the items in my contract. We all like getting what we pay for so make sure you know what exactly that is!

Shannon

Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.
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