Thursday, June 29, 2017

Don't Let Construction Threaten Your Meeting

Property construction isn’t always the first thing you think of when you’re planning your meeting, but it should definitely be high on your list. It is important to always ask, at the outset of the planning process, whether construction, renovations, or updates will be happening either over your meeting dates or in the time between contracting and program completion. Many planners overlook construction as an issue when they are initially told that the construction will be finished before their program arrives. However, it is very common for construction to get delayed, potentially causing changes to or cancellation of your meeting. Without contract language in place to protect yourself in these instances, a meeting could suddenly become very stressful and very costly.

When we know that construction delays are a possibility and our meeting may be affected, we generally ensure that the hotel is responsible for paying the other party for all increased costs it incurs to use a different hotel.  These costs can include refunding the deposit, food and beverage minimum difference, profit loss from lower attendance, air ticket changes, and more. Even with a clause such as this seemingly protecting you, we also need to make sure to be very aware of the language input elsewhere in your agreement. Some properties try to include relocation clauses requiring if alternate arrangements must be made, they must be made with a sister property. This means you could end up across the street, across the city, or in a completely different state depending on what hotel chain you are working with. It is important to make sure these clauses specify both the location of and the class of hotel you may be relocated to. It’s also a possibility that a property will later decide that they do not want to fulfill their part of the contract, in which case it can be very expensive to enforce your legal rights. It is imperative to include a provision that entitles the prevailing party to an award for all attorney fees and costs in the event of litigation. Protecting yourself isn’t limited to reviewing just one clause, but means creating a complete contract.

As a meeting planner, it is so easy to get so wrapped up in the details that we might overlook bigger issues. A well thought out plan is useless unless it can be executed successfully and a fully functioning venue is imperative to the meeting. Therefore, we always look to reduce any possible threats to your meeting. Starting with making sure we have complete information on who we are contracting with and negotiating an ironclad contract with them.