by Sarah J.F. Braley | March 01, 2008

chartGetting to the point where all parties are happy with a meeting contract is no easy task. In January, M&C conducted a survey to examine how planners handle that process.

Of the 156 respondents, 61 percent always or sometimes give their contracts to a lawyer for review. In-house counsel takes on that task for 56 percent, while 13 percent use a contract specialist. Just 4 percent use a lawyer who specializes in hospitality. Of the 28 percent who do not call on an attorney, 66 percent said they are comfortable reviewing contracts on their own.

Meeting agreements have changed quite a bit within the past year. Many planners have revised clauses such as cancellation (82 percent), guest room attrition (81 percent), F&B attrition (69 percent), force majeure (68 percent) and damages (41 percent).

Negotiating individual clauses is a common practice. A full 93 percent of those surveyed always or sometimes haggle over such details.

When the parties come to the table to negotiate, 36 percent of respondents find the guest room attrition clause is the hardest to finalize. Another 26 percent said cancellation clauses are the most challenging, followed by F&B attrition (14 percent), favored nation (9 percent), force majeure (5 percent) and damages (4 percent). Six percent chose “other.”

More than two thirds of those surveyed (69 percent) start the negotiating process with the hotel’s or supplier’s contract, rather than their own document (31 percent).

The great majority of planners have never sued (91 percent) or been sued (92 percent) over a meeting or event contract.

 

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