At the Annual meeting of the International Association of Conference Centers, held April 19-22 at The Heldrich, New Brunswick, N.J., nearly 500 conference center operators heard that while business was very, very good, the demand for conference centers from the meetings segment was flattening and attrition clauses in conference center contracts could be fairer to both sides.

Brad Garner, director of client services/operations, Smith Travel Research, said in his “State of the Conference Center Industry” session that while 2007 was proving to be a profitable year for conference centers, demand by groups was flattening and would not exceed the record-breaking profits of 2006.

In a conference center contract issues session, Steven Rudner, Rudner Law Offices, Dallas, who represents hotels and resorts about group sales issues, told a packed room that while most attrition clauses are based on the number of room nights, and F&B attrition is based on head counts, attrition clauses should be based on revenue generated rather than on the individual numbers. “Negotiate for room revenue, food-and-beverage revenue on the front end,” Rudner told the conference center operators, because groups know their budgets up front. That way, if planners fall short of the per-person F&B numbers, they can upgrade their menu to meet the agreed-upon revenue, and the planner doesn't just pay out attrition.

In other IACC news, Ron Naples, president, Maple Mountain Hospitality, won the annual Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service and Tom Bolman, executive vice president, IACC, was honored for his 20-year commitment to the association and the industry.

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