There was more, but I'll make this the last post about Tim Brown's negotiation session at NEMICE yesterday:
It's important to know the difference between mitigated and liquidated damages, he said.
"In liquidated damages, you have to pay the hotel within a certain time frame, usually 30 days," he said. "It doesn't matter if they resell the rooms or not. Liquidated means they want the check right now."
Mitigated damages is different--it's "the obligation of the hotel to resell as much as they can to try to reduce or eliminate your damages. Deposits made by the group go into the equation. Include in the contract that you can put 75 percent of what they don't resell toward a future meeting."
He left us with these words of wisdom:
Put everything in writing and be specific.
Stay away from vague phrases like "ample," "reasonable," "appropriate," etc.
Evaluate and outline your specific contract requirements and present them to the hotel, along with value-added concessions and performance clauses. Request a return date to receive the hotel contract.
Discuss all contract components with the hotel in an open and honest manner.
There is no "contract" until both parties have signed the document. Initialed scribbles don't count. Written changes on the contract with date and initials constitutes a counter-offer, not a done deal.
Don't rush into signing a contract if you don't understand or agree with the content.
Negotiate an option date to sign and return the contract. (If you can't make the date, get an extension in writing.)
If you want to avoid lawyers and arbitration, communicate, communicate, communicate!