The next time a hotel contract lands on your desk, read it twice. First, read what is there and identify the terms that need to be rewritten, changed, or deleted. Then, read it for what is not there and needs to be added. The following checklist will help you determine what to look for and what is missing. (Note: This information is not intended to be “legal advice.” Meeting planners and hotel managers should consult a qualified attorney to review all contract issues.)
General Contract Issues
o Date of contract initiation.
o Accurate and complete legal names of both parties, addresses, and contact information as well as the name of the meeting. Be sure the contracting party is not listed as the name of the meeting; they are often not the same.
o Actual dates of the meeting, not the dates of the room block.
o Statement of whether the contract is a first or second option. A first option should specify the date by which the contract must be signed and returned to the hotel, after which date the option will expire and the contract may have to be renegotiated. A second option should include the above as well as the date by which the hotel must reply to you after receiving the signed contract (typically three business days) and notify you of its decision.
Sleeping Room Block
o Table format showing the year, days of the week, and dates of the room block.
o Specific breakdown by type(s) of rooms/suites and number(s) per night.
o Beware of language that locks you into payment for the entire contracted block.
o Year quoted. If rates are quoted for any year other than the current year, that year should be specified.
o Future rates. If rates are not definite yet, indicate the formula to be used and when final rates will be established (usually 12 months out). Use at least two factors in the formula, such as percentage off rack rate, maximum percentage increase per year, or the Consumer Price Index, and state that final rates will be the lesser of the two formulas.
o Breakdown of rates by type of room/suite, single/double, deluxe, and government rate. State the percentage blocked in each rate category.
o Applicable taxes (sales, occupancy), service charges, and gratuities.
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