Making the right moves when it comes to your contract can save you thousands of dollars. That was the advice from Mark Roysner, a lawyer with Roysner & Associates, Calabasas, Calif., one of 34 speakers at the 14th annual Affordable Meetings national conference, held September 3 to 4 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. Roysner highlighted three areas of contract negotiations that planners often overlook:

  1. Define your attendees. Attendees should include anyone associated with the conference, such as directors, contractors, member guests, speakers, and employees. Making it as broad as possible gives the planner maximum credit for everyone he or she produces and decreases attrition exposure.

  2. Define your food and beverage minimums based on profits, not on the number of people served.

  3. Check your force majeure clauses. Make sure that the clause takes into account something unforeseen that affects the attending meeting group, not just the hotel or venue.

Hotel officials are more open to negotiating these days, Roysner, said — but don't expect them to initiate discussions.