CLAUSE: No Room at the Inn

In an effort to maximize their revenues, hotels regularly sell more hotel rooms than they have for a given night. This concept of “yield management” is based on sound business principles. Principled or not, this is no comfort to the meeting planner whose attendees are “walked” to another hotel.

EFFECT: No Clause, No Resource

If there is no clause, the meeting planner should add one. One negotiation tack is to specify that the hotel will pay a set amount of money per room for any group room that it walks. In this scenario, the hotel is likely to walk other guests before they will walk your attendees.

An alternate plan is to add a clause that explains what reparations the hotel will offer if the hotel does have to walk a group guest. Such a clause should address the following:

  • Consulting with the group's on-site contact to prioritize which group attendees are walked (e.g., not VIPs)

  • Making sure the hotel maintains the name of any walked guest on a special list so that anyone who calls for the walked guest can be referred to the guest's new hotel

  • Providing or reimbursing transportation for the attendee between the original hotel and the new hotel during the meeting dates

  • Providing one or more long-distance telephone calls so attendees can inform their family and/or office of the change in hotels

Perhaps most important, be sure that any walked rooms are credited to the group's pickup for purposes of calculating attrition damages.

Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq., CMP ( is a meeting industry attorney and assistant professor of event and meeting management at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.