Why Do You Need A Contract?
You need a contract because:
- The friendly banqueting manager who agreed to everything you asked
for is going to go and work for another hotel. Youll probably go through
3 or 4 different contacts and its essential to have a continuing
- Even if they dont leave, they wont be at the convention
and the staff who are there on the day wont know (or believe) whats
- Because hotels will try and squeeze more revenue out of anything they
can, as a matter of principal.
- Because contracts written by the hotel are completely useless and
because we have vastly more experience at knowing what we actually want.
- Because even if you agree something with the management, they then
have to inform their deputies, who inform their juniors, who pass the
information to the appropriate department who
. Anyway, by the time it
gets to the end of the chain its often a bit distorted. At Reconvene, it
took us at least three separate attempts (that I know of) before we could get
the bar staff to serve fresh orange juice at the agreed price. Not because the
hotel were unwilling, but because they just werent used to what we wanted
and the message had got garbled.
What Goes In The Contract
No, honestly. If you want the hotel to provide something then include it
in the contract. Typically this will include:
- Function rooms to be used by the convention and the exact dates on
which they are to be made available. Remember to have a couple of rooms
available for storage both before and after the con.
- Prices of function space. If you are getting it free, the contract
must say so or else you will wind up paying some exorbitant amount entirely
- Bar prices. If they wont commit to a set price, try "no more
than 75% of the price of a pint of beer in the hotels bar during the week
before the convention."
- Provision of food and drink, prices, times and special variants
(vegetarian, vegan etc.) Its worth trying to get across to the hotel that
these should be varied, but the contract is probably not the best place for
- Room rates and the dates on which these apply. Useful clauses like
"the hotel must inform the convention before it releases any rooms due to the
people who have booked them not showing up."
- Free rooms, suites etc. If you take the whole hotel, its common
for them to throw in a couple of free suites for use by the organisers. Either
give these to your guests or use them for programme.
- Restrictions on access by non-members.
- Special events (e.g. banquet, public parties) where the hotel is
providing a service of some sort.
- Corkage rates.
- Mushrooms at breakfast. Or any other strange requirements that you
really want to provide.
What to do with it now youve got it?
Well, first of all you have to get the hotel to agree to it. Usually
theyre so shell-shocked by having someone care about this that
theyll go ahead and sign it without too much protest. Dont try and
push your luck, though. Be flexible. Remember that we cant actually
afford to enforce this contract, so its really an agreement rather than a
Hotel liaison should have a copy so that they can wave it at
recalcitrant members of the hotel staff (dont try this on
managementyoull quickly learn that if the hotel wants to break the
contract they will and theres not much anyone can do about it).
Sections dealing with things like bar hours and prices can be posted on
public noticeboards, though you probably dont want to make the whole
An Example Contract
I need a sample contract. Please email me one and I'll try and include