CLAUSE: Room Assignments

“The function room assignments listed in this contract are tentative. Final function and meeting rooms will be assigned by Hotel three months prior to meeting dates. Hotel reserves the right to reassign function rooms to accommodate both Group and all other groups or parties using Hotel's facilities during Group's meeting.”

EFFECT: Dysfunctional Function Rooms?

The group and hotel have apparently agreed on which function rooms will accommodate the various components of the group's meeting. Generally, since a group would not need to publish a program including room names more than three months out, this time frame may be reasonable.

What is less reasonable is that there are no criteria to guide the hotel on how function room changes may be made. Room size, location, décor, and other issues should be addressed by the group with the hotel within the contract. The risk of ending up with unsuitable function room assignments is especially high if the site inspection and contract negotiation takes place a year or more before the meeting. Because of staff turnover, communication of these details may not be conveyed if not specified in the contract.

To address the issue of the adequacy of the size of final function rooms, the parties can agree that the function room assignments in the contract are final, rather than tentative, and that requests for changes must require both hotel and group approval. If this language is agreed upon, the group should be as flexible as it can be to allow the hotel to sell its other meeting space. Alternatively, the group can specify that final function rooms assigned three months out must be assigned based on size and other factors specified in the contract by the group. To address size, the group can specify minimum square footage for each type of function and room, or it can refer to a neutral calculator for minimum room size such as the MPI Comfort Calculator.

Last, but certainly not least, the final sentence of the clause basically negates the rest of the paragraph. Room assignments are not “final” if the hotel is reserving the right to reassign function rooms. The last sentence of the clause should be stricken or at least changed to specify that the hotel may make such reassignments only through a certain date, perhaps three months out in this case.


Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq. (tyra@mindspring.com), a meetings industry attorney, is assistant professor of meeting and event management at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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