Hotel attrition clauses are the fifth greatest concern in our survey this year. One company that has a very clear policy regarding attrition clauses is Conferon, the Twinsburg, Ohio-based independent meeting planning company. Dave Lutz, CMP, executive vice president, says the goal of an attrition clause should be "to make the hotel whole," that is, to allow the hotel to make up a fair share of the revenue it loses when it sets aside rooms for a group that the group doesn't pick up. There are some fairness issues around attrition clauses, he says, offering the following tips.

Attrition clauses should not: * Contain multiple performance clauses. (A group should not have to pay for rooms it reserved but didn't use--and pay more for meeting space because it failed to fill its room block.)

* Use the word "penalty" (the courts prefer the term fee ).

* Call for attrition fees to include the room tax.

* Require fees to be paid before the meeting is over.

On the other hand, attrition clauses should: * Allow both sides to revise the size of the room block 11 or 12 months before the meeting.

* Require the hotel to assist the group in assuring that all rooms occupied by group members are counted in the group's room block.

* Permit both sides to review the city ledger, the record of occupancy that the hotel is obligated to maintain so that the government can make sure the appropriate room taxes are collected.

* If a contract doesn't include an attrition clause, make sure the contract says that the hotel will not hold the group liable if it fails to make its room block. "If you don't have an attrition clause, the hotel can still pursue you," Lutz says.