Vachon also suggested creating separate contract addendum templates for large programs and catering-only functions. His addendum includes more than 100 different concessions from which to choose for a specific meeting’s needs; he has a separate addendum for catering-only events.

Don’t forget to include competitor clauses. Imagine if you booked a meeting in a hotel that already had booked another pharma meeting at the same time—which happens to be your competitor’s competitive analysis group meeting—and the hotel didn’t think to mention it to you or the other company? That could be a disaster in the making. But, Rudkins added, if you can, build in a little leniency. For example, the non-compete would apply to the rooms next to yours, but it may be OK for a competitor to meet on the opposite side of a large hotel. And be fair about who you list as a competitor, said Vachon. “Make sure it’s just competitors in that product area.”

It also can be a good idea to specify that no one can just “take a peek” at your meeting while it’s in progress. “I don’t care if it’s just for a wedding site inspection—no,” said Vachon.

Also be sure to define the space you need in the contract. For example, if you need 210 breakouts, you will need to be able to print where the breakouts are going to be in your meeting materials. You can’t do that if you don’t know which rooms you will have, or if the hotel keeps changing them. Another good clause to have addresses guest relocation. “I know what it’s like to look at your arrivals list and see you’ll have to walk people,” Vachon said to the hoteliers in the audience. “But you have to talk to us before you have to move someone in our group. It could be an AV guy, or it could be our VP of marketing.”

Legal items that should be covered include noise abatement, mutual indemnification, dispute resolution processes, bankruptcy, and force majeure. It’s also well worth having a resale clause in the contract, he said. Other items worth covering: cancellation and reduction clauses for F&B and room blocks; facility ownership changes; facility improvement; deposits, billing, and payment; and F&B pricing. For pharma companies, it also can be useful to have a clause that addresses what’s needed to comply with the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals.