Clause:

(Marriott) Hotel will pay commission only to valid sellers of travel who are accredited by one of the Marriott-approved entities.

Effect:

Think this clause doesn't apply to you? Think again. If you are an organization working with an independent planner — or an independent planner yourself — this clause reflecting Marriott's new policy about paying commissions might change the way you do business.

To apply for one of the accreditation numbers approved by Marriott (most likely an IATAN Travel Sales Intermediary number, appropriate for independent meeting planners who do not book air travel) is an added expense for independent planners. Client organizations may find fewer independent or third-party planners who are willing to work on commission, or may find that independent planners are raising fees to cover this additional cost of doing business.

Client organizations will need to verify that independent planners who are being paid on commission have this accreditation number, and should include language addressing this requirement in their contracts with independent planners. Without this number, independent planners might not be able to work on a commissionable basis if a Marriott hotel is chosen, or worse, the independent planner responsible for site selection might avoid recommending Marriott hotels, even if a Marriott is the best choice for the meeting.

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Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq., CMP, is an educator, consultant, and lawyer on legal, risk management, and ethical issues. Her consulting and law practice focuses on representing associations, nonprofits, and independent meeting and event professionals. www.tyrahilliard.com; tyra.hilliard@gmail.com.