by Vincent Alonzo | November 13, 2017

Recently, Successful Meetings sent a survey out to our readership asking them to tell us what was important for meeting and event contracts to cover in 2017. Of the respondents, 36% percent were corporate planners, 33 percent were independent or third party planners, and 25 percent were association planners. Of that pool, 29 percent reported that they have had a hotel or other supplier cancel their event because a better piece of business came along. Here's what else they had to say.

The most important pieces of information planners gather before drafting a meetings contract


Potential dates for the event: 96%
History of the meeting (room block size, F&B requirements, etc.): 87%
List of concessions you will need from the supplier: 69%
Renovation schedule of your potential hotel: 50%
Other groups in the hotel during desired dates: 40%
Risk factors such as hurricanes, terrorist activity, or general crime: 38%
Potential hotel's current average occupancy rate: 32%
Other groups in town during your desired dates: 21%
List of concessions you will be willing to concede to the supplier: 21%
City or destination's current average occupancy rate: 17%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Category
(Corporate / Third party / Association) 

Other groups in hotel during desired dates: 53% / 40% / 27%


The most common concessions that are sticking points in contracts

Attrition: 80%
Hotel fees & surcharges: 66%
Cancellation: 61%
F&B guarantees: 60%
Meeting space tied to room pick up: 52%
Meeting cancellation due to force majure: 27%
Compensation for meeting disruption due to hotel renovations: 20%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Type
(Full-time Planner / Part-time planner)
 Attrition: 86% / 72%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Category
(Third party / Association / Corporate)          
Hotel fees & surcharges: 75% / 67% / 58%


Percentage of planners who have had a hotel or other supplier cancel their event because a better piece of business came along

Yes: 29%
No: 70%    


Possible contract strategies to prevent such a cancellation

A damages clause that details all the hotel is going to have to pay: 70%
Add major concessions on rebooking another meeting at the hotel: 35%
Nothing enforceable can prevent this: 10%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Category
(Association / Third party / Corporate)

Add major concessions on rebooking another meeting at the hotel: 48% / 32% / 28%    


The most important clauses to put into a meetings or event contract


Cancellation: 83%
Attrition: 74%
Force majeure: 54%
Construction/renovation: 51%
Breach by the hotel: 45%    
Unauthorized changes:35%    
Conflicting booking (hotel agrees not to book groups in the same industry at the same time): 34%
Resell/audit: 33%
Mutual indemnification: 29%
Change in management/ownership brand: 22%
Relocation: 18%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Type
(Full-time Planner  / Part-time planner)
 Attrition: 85% / 61%
Unauthorized Changes: 24% / 48%
Force Majeure: 67% / 39%


Outside factors that most affect the drafting of meetings contracts

Lead time of the event in question: 68%
Strength of the economy: 65%
Level of demand in corporate and association meetings: 56%
Global and national political situation: 33%
Level of activity in new hotel room inventory pipeline: 32%
Supplier mergers: 22%
Shift to transactional vs. relationship selling: 17%
Fuel prices: 9%
Level of debt carried by the hotel industry: 6%


Most common practices when issuing a contract to a supplier

Standard supplier contract with planner-added addendums: 44%
A combination of all options: 25%
Custom contract made by the planner: 23%
Standard contract issued by the supplier: 10%
Custom contract drafted by the planner and supplier together: 15%
All of the above: 8%
Planner contract with supplier-added addendums: 6%
None of the above: 1%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Type
(Full-time Planner / Part-time planner)

Planner's contract with supplier-added addendums: 11% / 0%
A combination of all options: 31% / 17%           
Unauthorized Changes: 24% / 48%
Force Majeure: 67% / 39%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Planner Category
(Third party / Association / Corporate)

Combination of several options: 38% / 22% / 15%    
All of the above: 2% / 9% / 12%

Significant Demographic Differences - By Generation
(Baby Boomer / Millennial / GenXer)

Combination of several options: 25% / 10% / 6%    
Custom contract drafted by the planner and supplier together: 34%/ 24% / 13%