Perhaps the most important place to use a checklist is in your contracts. Do you have one for this purpose? If not, start here; modify to fit your needs.

  1. Correct Meeting Dates
    • Does it include move-in and move-out dates?

    • Does it include pre- and post-convention meetings/activities?
  2. Correct Organization Name
    • Is the contract in your name or the name of the organization?

  3. Complimentary Rooms
    • Can the earned value be deducted from the master account, or must they be assigned?

    • Are they calculated on a cumulative or daily basis?

  4. Special Concessions
    • They should be addressed in the contract, not verbally.

  5. Method of Reservations
    • Will attendees use the hotel's reservations system or a housing bureau?

  6. Cutoff Date
    • What is the date for room-block release, and what happens to attendees who attempt to block after this date?

  7. Hotel Management
    • If there is a change in the hotel brand or sale of the property, leave yourself room to cancel the contract.

  8. Union Contracts
    • Should be addressed completely with contract renewal dates.

    • If there is a change in the union policy, did you leave yourself room to cancel or renegotiate the contract?

  9. Function Space
    • Is enough space being held?

    • If unused space is to be released to the hotel, when does this happen?

    • Is there a charge related to function space if the room block is not filled?

  10. Payment
    • Are there deposits due?

    • Can the balance be paid in installments?

    • When is the final balance due?

  11. Attrition
    • What percentage of the room block are you committing to sell?

    • How is the penalty calculated?

    • Is the penalty based on lost revenue or lost profit?

  12. Room Types
    • If the hotel's room types change significantly, leave room to renegotiate (i.e., if 75 percent of your block needs to be double/double or 30 percent smoking rooms, and the hotel renovates or changes policy, it could drastically affect the potential to sell your room block.)

  13. Room Block
    • Have you blocked enough rooms?

    • Do you have rooms blocked on shoulder dates?

    • Is the room rate correct?

    • Have you established a formula for calculating room rate at a future date? (If you are signing a contract years in advance, this may be necessary.)

  14. Early Departure Fees
    • In the event of a guest's departure prior to their check-out date, is there are fee? Who pays this fee?

    • Are there exceptions for personal or professional emergencies?

  15. Additional Charges
    • Are additional charges (e.g. parking, luggage handling, resort fees, AV, shipping/receiving) addressed?

  16. Miscellaneous Items

    Carefully review the following items.

    • Cancellation clause

    • Impossibility clause

    • Compliance with law clause

    • Changes, additions, stipulations or deletions clause

    • Litigation clause

    • American With Disabilities Act Compliance (ADA) clause

    • Indemnification clause

Dean Jones is convention manager, Free Will Baptist Convention, National Association of Free Will Baptists, Nashville, Tenn.