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Event Planning And The Art Of Venue Contract Negotiation

Event planning: contracting a venueYou have gone through great lengths to determine your needs for your event, traveled far and wide (with hopefully good travel karma) to visit different venues, and are now in the zone where you have selected your ideal venue.

Early on, you had provided an in-depth Request for Proposal prior to visiting the venue that included items such as preferred dates, space requirements, sleeping room needs and food and beverage requirements.  Next step: obtain a contract.

Contract Received     

I have been in this business for a long time and I still find reviewing contracts daunting but not impossible. Over the next few weeks, we will take an in-depth look at how to approach reviewing the contract from different stages. Today we are going to start with the layout of the contract and the standard elements included in a typical venue contract.  We will refer back to this list – in my next post about negotiable items – in more detail.

Components of a Contract:

I)               Parties entering the agreement

II)              Dates of event

    •        Be sure to take into account set-up and tear-down days as needed
    •        Double check your competitive calendar, holiday, etc.

III)             Guest rooms – room block details

    •        Number of rooms required in your block (to include type of room) by night
    •        Room rate offered (negotiable)
    •        Reservation procedures that include: confirmation policy; guarantees, deposits,                check in & check out times; reservation procedures (negotiable)
    •        Room block and tracking reporting (negotiable)
        • Sliding scale to manage room block
    •        Complimentary rooms based on room block (negotiable)
    •        Billing
    •        Room upgrades (negotiable)

IV)           Food and beverage functions

    •        Date of functions and space required (negotiable)
    •        Set ups (negotiable)
    •        Price guarantees (negotiable)

V)            Meeting Space

      1. Space contracted with hours specified
      2. Clause about adjustments of space provided by the venue
      3. Room rental fee (negotiable)
      4. Equipment  (negotiable)
      5. Other groups in-house  (clause to add in if required)

VI)           Legal language that includes:

    •        Compliance with local laws
    •        Cancellation policy for the event
    •        Deposit/billing details
    •        Accessibility
    •        Renovation/construction (clause to add in if not included in initial contract)
    •        Insurance
    •        Third party vendors
    •        Dispute resolution
    •        Signatures of authorized parties

The next post will cover more details on the items noted that are negotiable.

Do you have any additional points to consider for all of us event planners out there?