1. Cap your liability to the amount of insurance that you are required to carry. Insurance requirements are usually non-negotiable, but you can at least limit your exposure to the amount of insurance you have to carry.

2. Regarding indemnification, it would be extremely rare for a center not to insist on a clause that protects the facility, but planners can ask for limitations, especially in the case of gross negligence by the facility.

3. Let your in-house counsel focus on the legal boilerplate while you prioritize your group’s key needs, wants, and interests. Typically, these involve space, rates, and dates, but your group might have a pressing priority outside of these three. For example, one produce association requires 24-hour air-conditioning.

4. If you are required to pay for services such as garbage, cleanup, and electrical, make sure these fees and rates are spelled out, and year-by-year escalation clauses are addressed.

5. Start negotiations not by asking for information about the facility but by describing the buying power/economic impact/value of your convention or event.

6. Ask to have all ancillary charges spelled out in the first two pages of the contract, not buried deep within the document and therefore likely to result in surprise fees and charges.

7. Clearly specify who within your organization is authorized to request additional services, square footage, etc.

8. Consider negotiating a multiple-year contract to really leverage your business.

9. Cancellation clauses should include language that says if any of the convention hotels are not open/available for business, the contract with the convention center is null and void. Likewise, include language that protects your group if the convention center no longer has the space/facilities that you specified when the letter of agreement was signed.

10. Deposits: If at all possible, do not pay 100 percent of your event’s cost upfront. If the facility messes up, you will have no leverage if you have nothing left on the table.

11. Always get a copy of the facility’s rules and regulations. It may contain some restrictions on what you would like to do at the center.

Source: Meetingsnet.com editors and articles.