My #3 core competency must-have for meeting professionals: Contract Review and Negotiation ....
Of all the components of the planning process, none is probably more daunting nor carries more risk than that of contract review and negotiation.
A contract is a legally binding document, and everyone concerned (planner, meeting host, Procurement, Legal, and in some cases Risk Management) needs to fully understand the language and implications of such. It’s important to remember that while meeting professionals are or can become very knowledgeable with contract terminology and the various clauses, they are, however, NOT (unless they are) attorneys. Therefore, it is imperative that they know their limitations and seek legal assistance when needed or are unsure of what something means to be safe.
If you are not a meeting professional but find yourself planning meetings from time to time over and above your day-to-day responsibilities, it is more important than ever that you call in the experts for assistance with this element of the planning process.
Meeting professionals must know and understand the basic components of a contract and the key clauses that should be included in a hotel contract in order to best protect the people, company, association or non-profit they represent. They need to know what is negotiable (like room rates and suite upgrades, room rentals) and what is not (hmm), how much to push and when to back off and the cause and effect of either.
Contract Negotiation should be looked at as a WIN-WIN proposition across the board. You can ask for the moon and the stars, but you need to be realistic and understand both sides of the equation in order to be successful in this element of the meeting planning process.
To learn more about the contract negotiation and review process, check out my book, "The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings."