Some things to consider to ensure your meetings are compliant, brought to you by the presenters of a MeetingsNet webinar that premiered in March:

Are you restricted from using five-star properties or venues with spas? If so, don’t even source them. “The worst thing you can find out is that the Four Seasons is offering a better rate and concessions than the Westin down the street,” said James Vachon, CMM, associate director of events, meetings and conventions, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Co.

Does the venue have pharma-compliant menus? “If you have spend caps, which you likely do, you need to know that catering and banquets can work within your restrictions. I suggest you include something about this in your addendum,” Vachon said.

What costs do you need to include in your caps? Typically tax, gratuities, and service are included, he said, but the compliance officer may have other costs he wants you to consider, such as room rental, audiovisual, and transportation to an off-site event. What type of service fees do you have to consider? Do you have bartender or carving station fees to take into account? Also, ask if your hotel has a pharma-friendly menu, and let them know your budgetary parameters.

Do you have caps specific to meal types? Most pharma companies do have caps for dinners, but it’s becoming increasingly common for companies to have caps for breakfast and lunch, and even for breaks, Vachon said.

Additionally, find out what class of service is allowed for flights for the different types of employees, or if the class of service allowed depends on the longest leg of the trip as opposed to the entire travel time.

When negotiating contacts with hotels, consider accepting only concessions you will be able to use, said Vachon. For example, if the hotel wants to offer you complimentary limousine transfers but you can’t use them, don’t accept them.

(Go to Managing Medical Meetings Budgets for more.)