@MPIGNY - Winter 2014 - (Page 24)

#legal review TOP LEGAL TRENDS IN THE MEETINGS AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY BY BARBARA F. DUNN, ESQ. W hile the meetings, travel and hospitality industry continues down the path to improvement, a number of trends have emerged impacting organizations - both corporate and nonprofit. Whether these trends are affecting your organization yet or not, it is important to prepare for any contingency the industry might send your organization's way. Increased Demand, Limited Supply Watch your head - the pendulum has swung back, and it's a seller's market for groups. With a limited supply of full service hotels and renewed demand in the business/corporate travel sector, many groups have been pushed to look at other cities or to change their dates or patterns. But with the right marketplace and timing, there still are great deals for groups. Remember in negotiations, if you don't ask, you don't get, so ask away! The request for proposal (RFP) is a great vehicle to contain all of the various requirements and "wish lists" of groups. The RFP should also include key contract provisions. Cancellations by Hotel With increased demand comes the possibility of hotels replacing contracted association business with corporate business. Other recent circumstances for hotel cancellations include hotel closure for renovations or so that the hotel may be converted in whole or part to condominiums. When cancellation by the hotel occurs - regardless of the circumstance - groups need to ensure that they are protected with strong language in the hotel contract, which provides for the recovery of all costs associated with moving the meeting to an alternate hotel as well as indirect damages and attorney's fees. 24 @MPIGNY WINTER 2014 Option and Cutoff Dates Matter With increased demand for rooms and space comes the importance of the option and cutoff dates in hotel contracts. While many groups assume that the option dates will be automatically extended by hotels, many groups have discovered, to their unpleasant surprise, that the hotels will not extend the option dates as the hotels have alternate pieces of business ready to be booked. So if groups need more time to consider a contract, the groups should contact the hotel and secure a written modification to the option date. The cutoff date is also critical as many hotels seek to have this date extended to 30 days so that they can sell the remaining portion of the group's room block. As such, groups should ensure that they are comfortable with the cutoff date. Housing Pirates With a busy marketplace and attendees striving for the best deal, many groups have fallen prey to the efforts of companies contacting their attendees and exhibitors under the guise of the group to sell them hotel rooms at a lower rate for the group's meeting. These so called "housing pirates" are back with quite a vengeance and their tactics have become increasingly more aggressive in noting that they are calling "on behalf of the group." While it is critical to send housing pirates a "cease and desist" regarding their unauthorized actions, it is equally important to notify attendees and exhibitors of the tactics of these companies and remind them of the proper channels for reserving hotel rooms for their conference. Exclusive Suppliers Many hotels are adding exclusive suppliers, which groups are required to use for at the hotel. Such exclusive suppliers include not only suppliers of safety items, such as rigging, but also for services, such as audio-visual and decorating. For groups that have their own contracts with outside providers, this requirement raises a number of issues. The best way to manage this development is to include language in the hotel contract that permits the group to utilize the suppliers of its choice. Further, if groups want to utilize their own equipment at the meeting, such as an LCD projector, they should also include a provision in the contract permitting them to do so at no charge. As is always the case, meeting professionals should be prepared to address important contingencies that could affect their meeting. With the careful planning and execution, planners can ensure that their organization is protected both inside and outside of the contract. @ Barbara Dunn is a partner with the Association and Foundations Practice Group at Barnes & Thornburg, where she concentrates her practice in association law and meetings, travel and hospitality law. Barbara can be reached at (312) 214-4837 or barbara.dunn@btlaw.com. This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific guidance, organizations should seek the counsel of their legal professionals.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Winter 2014

ASK THE BOARD
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
14 MEETINGS TECHNOLOGY TRENDS TO WATCH FOR 2014
10 EVENTS IN NORTH AMERICA YOU SHOULDN’T MISS IN 2014
SPORTS INCENTIVES AND MEETING PLANNING A WINNING TEAM
HOSTED-BUYER PROGRAMS: A PLANNER AND SUPPLIER Q&A
#stickwithmpigny
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT A CONVERSATION WITH JULIE GREEN
TECHNOLOGY CORNER BY WALTER J. RECHER
TIME. WARPED.
LEGAL REVIEW BY BARBARA F. DUNN, ESQ.
FITNESS FOCUS BY KELLY FILIPPONE
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
NEWS
DESTINATION: MANHATTAN
NEW MEMBERS
ADVERTISER’S INDEX

@MPIGNY - Winter 2014

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