Meetings Contract Trends for 2018

Recently, Successful Meetings sent a survey out to our readership asking them to tell us what was important to them when drafting contracts for their meetings and events. Of the respondents 39 percent were corporate planners, 31 percent were third party or independent planners, and 30 percent were association planners. Of that pool, 29 percent have had a hotel or other supplier cancel an event because a better piece of business came along. Here's what else they had to say.

The most important pieces of information to gather before drafting a meetings or event contract

Dates for the event: 92%
Meeting history (room block size, F&B requirements, etc.): 80%
List of concessions you will need: 52%
Renovation schedule of the hotel: 44%
Percentage breakdown of budget for rooms, transportation, F&B, etc.: 35%
Other groups in your hotel during your desired dates: 34%
Risk factors such as possibility of hurricanes, terrorist activity, etc.: 21%
List of concessions you will concede: 20%
Hotel's average occupancy rate: 16%
Other groups in town during your desired dates: 15%
City or destination's current average occupancy rate: 5%

Most common clauses that are sticking points in contracts

Attrition: 77%
F&B guarantees: 62%
Cancellation: 57%
Hotel fees & surcharges: 55%
Cost of WiFi: 54%
Meeting space tied to room pick up: 43%
Meeting cancellation due to force majure: 23%
Compensation for meeting disruption due to hotel renovations: 21%

Planners who have had a hotel or other supplier cancel an event because a better piece of business came along

It has happened: 29%
It hasn't happened: 71%

Contract strategies that help to prevent these cancellations

Include a damages clause detailing the costs the hotel will have to cover: 77%
Include major concessions on rebooking another meeting: 35%
Nothing enforceable can prevent this: 9%

Most important clauses to put into a meetings or event contract

Cancellation: 85%
Attrition: 76%
Force majeure: 55%
Construction/renovation: 49%
Unauthorized changes: 40%
Resell: 38%
Breach by the hotel:    34%
Mutual indemnification: 33%
Conflicting booking: 24%
Relocation: 16%
Change in management/ownership brand: 15%

Outside factors that affect the drafting of meetings contracts

Strength of the economy: 59%
Popularity of the destination among frequent individual travelers (FIT): 49%
Level of demand in corporate and association meetings: 48%
Level of activity in new hotel room inventory pipeline: 32%
Global and national political situation: 26%
Supplier mergers: 22%
Shift to transactional vs. relationship selling: 22%
Fuel prices: 11%
Level of debt carried by the hotel industry: 6%

Effect that Marriott and Hilton cutting commission to third party planners in North America will have on contracts

Will consider other hotel chains: 47%
No effect, don't use third party planners or site selection companies: 42%
Contracts will take a tougher stand in areas such as F&B, WiFi, A/V, etc.: 25%

Most common practice when issuing a contract to a supplier

Use the supplier's contract with addendums added by the planner: 43%
Use the planner's custom contract tailored to the needs of the event: 22%
Use a custom contract drafted by the planner and supplier together: 13%
Use all of the options mentioned: 8%
Use the planner's contract with addendums added by the supplier: 8%
Use the standard contract issued by the supplier: 7%
None of the above: 2%
Use a combination of several of the options mentioned: 25%