Event Logistics

Hotel/Convention Center Meetings

Begin by identifying favorable dates for your meeting. Choose a couple that would work to allow for flexibility when negotiating with the venue. There will be times when one date will bring more favorable pricing over another date. Identify a city favorable to your meeting and several venues within that city to hold your meeting. Request a proposal from the selected venues.


Request for Proposal

Include the following information in your Request for Proposal (RFP):

  • Preferred dates in order of preference
  • Contact information for person who will be coordinating event planning
  • An explanation of Phi Theta Kappa and its mission
  • Meeting title
  • Meeting objectives
  • Attendee profile
  • Expected attendance
  • A list hotels and meeting dates for the past three meetings of this type and room block pick-up history
  • Accommodation requirements (single/double/triple/quad/suite)
  • Quantity of desired accommodations type broken down by date needed
  • Tentative schedule of events
  • Anticipated food and beverages needs with quantities
  • Requested concessions (see Concessions in checklist section)

Call each venue you are interested in and determine to whom you should submit the RFP. Typically this will be the Director of Group Sales or someone similar. Keep in mind the first response you get to your RFP is only your starting point in negotiations. To be in the best position to negotiate know your group. Have an understanding of your past meetings; know who attends and what you typically spend.

If you have any questions, concerns, or simply need some guidance, contact Wendy Giammarco, or 601.984.3558. We can assist you in site selection, RFP preparation and contract negotiation to ensure a successful Phi Theta Kappa meeting. Another valuable resource available to you, as a Phi Theta Kappa Regional Coordinator, is ConferenceDirect. Our ConferenceDirect Associate is Peter Green, Senior Vice President. He and his staff are seasoned negotiators and can prepare, send and review your RFPs and negotiate contracts and concessions on your behalf so you can focus on achieving your goals and objectives of the meeting. ConferenceDirect will also keep a history of your room block pick-up to help with future negotiations. Peter can be reached at peter.green@conferencedirect.com and has been a valuable resource for the Texas, Florida and Kansas Regions.


Contract Checklist

Critique the proposed contract you receive in response to your Request for Proposal using the following checklist. Remember, the proposed contract is just a starting point in negotiations.

Ensure accurate and complete legal name as well as contact information. (ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa)

Verify the name of the meeting and dates for accuracy. (Phi Theta Kappa ABC Regional Convention, Nov. 1-3, 2017)

  • Review the outlined room block in the proposed contract and review room types and quantities. Secure only what you will need to avoid future attrition charges.
  • Prevent penalties for room block slippage by stating only one room block performance term – usually attrition or a meeting room rental scale.
  • Review proposed room rates to determine if proposed rates will work with your budget. If they do not, then request a rate that will work within your budget. The hotel may or may not be able to meet your request. If the rate in the proposed contract is favorable, ask if they can reduce it by anywhere from $5-$10 anyway. However, be specific and ask for $10 lower or $5 lower. Do not give a range. Let them think that you know exactly where you need the rate to be. You never know what wiggle room they may have built in.
  • Ask for a staff room rate lower than your meeting room rate. Identify how many staff rooms you will need.
  • Verify the rates are for the time period and dates you need them. Some contracts will quote a rate with stipulations that the rate will increase by a percentage over time which will result in a higher rate over your meeting dates.
  • Review and consider all applicable taxes (sales tax, occupancy tax), service charges (on food and beverage, etc.), gratuities, etc. If the sales tax, occupancy tax and service charge percentage is not stated in the contract request that it be added.
  • Review any applicable charges that may be listed for an additional person in the room. Ask that these charges be waived. If this option is not available, request the exact charge be outlined in the contract to protect you from an increase.
  • Request that group rates apply three days before and after the room block dates.
  • Specify that the rates will be the lowest of any comparable group in house at the same time and/or that lower individual transient rates will apply to attendees who meet the booking restrictions of the lower rate.

Specify how reservations will be made (rooming list, telephone calls, reservation form or Internet).

Specify check-in/check-out times.

State that the hotel will send confirmations within two days of receipt of reservations or reservation changes.

Review the deadline for reservations – typically between 21 and 30 days prior to arrival. Ensure you are comfortable with this deadline. If you are not comfortable with the deadline, ask for an adjustment.

The contract should state whether reservations made after the reservation deadline will be based on room availability and given the group rate or the best available rate.

Identify in the contract that the hotel will cross reference their in-house guest list with your group registration list. This will help your room pickup and locate any reservations made outside your room block. (State that the group will maintain confidentiality of the list.)

State that the group will receive credit for all rooms booked by attendees, regardless of the room rate or reservation method, including Internet distribution channels.

Indicate whether individuals or the group is responsible for each category of charges – guest rooms, tax, incidentals, etc.

Spell out the policies for individual deposits, including acceptable forms of deposit and the hotel's refund/cancellation policy. Stipulate that name changes to reservations will be made at no charge.

Describe the terms of payment for the master account. (If credit is not approved, prepayment of 50 percent of the estimated master account will be required prior to arrival, with the balance due at departure.)

State if credit is approved, payment of all undisputed charges will be due 30 days after receipt of the final invoice, after which finance charges not exceeding 1.5 percent per month will be applied to the unpaid, undisputed portion, beginning 30 days after receipt of the final invoice.

NOTE: Be sure to establish credit with the hotel/venue at least 60 days prior to the event. You can use PTK Headquarters’ credit references to establish credit. Request a credit application from the hotel/venue, complete the application and attach a credit reference sheet from headquarters. You can obtain the credit reference application by contacting Vickie Embry at vickie.embry@ptk.org.

Itemize all concessions with specific detail, such as two complimentary one-bedroom suites for up to four nights each, four complimentary round-trip airport transfers, three complimentary welcome VIP amenities, etc.

For the "one-per-40 complimentary rooms or one-per-50 complimentary rooms" concession, ensure that it will be calculated for revenue-producing rooms on a cumulative basis, not per night. Specify whether comp rooms will be assigned and/or credited to the master account at the group rate.

If concessions are tied to picking up a certain percentage of the room block, specify exactly how they will change if the group fails to meet the minimum pickup.

Include the preliminary agenda in the contract or attach it to the document (even if some information is incomplete), and state that the hotel is holding space according to the agenda.

Define the meeting space requirements using a table format. Across the top list day, date, time, type of function, room setup, estimated attendance, and minimum square feet required/ceiling height required (or room name). Along the left side list the days and dates and fill in the spaces with the applicable information.

Stipulate start/end days and dates for 24-hour hold on space.

Include terms for the release of meeting space.

Provide due dates for the tentative and final agendas (12 months and six months, respectively).

Spell out charges for meeting room rental and/or setup, and state there will be no meeting room rental, setup or labor charges other than those, if any, specified in the contract.

Stipulate that changes to function space assignments or requirements are not allowed without written consent of the group.

Indicate that the hotel's agreement to provide the specific function space assignments and/or minimum square footage and ceiling height requirements specified in the contract is a condition of the group booking the property.

Ensure that the group may use outside contractors of its choosing without a surcharge from the hotel or its in-house supplier. Itemize all areas where this is permissible – audio-visual, exhibitor decorating, security, Internet services, etc.

Ask that the contract state there will be no liability for canceled or reduced food and beverage functions or reduced F&B revenue.

On occasion you can get waived meeting room rental charges based on your F&B revenue. Ask for this.

Add a reciprocal clause in which each party indemnifies the other for the negligence of the indemnifying party. This can be added as an Addendum to the contract.

Require that each party "defend" the other.

Include the hotel's service or sale of alcohol in its indemnification of the group.

Example:

THE HOTEL agrees to indemnify ABC REGION OF PHI THETA KAPPA and its officers, directors, employees, agents and affiliates and hold each of them harmless from and against all losses, costs, expenses (including reasonable fees, expenses, and disbursements to its attorneys) and liabilities, including those resulting from any litigation or other proceeding ("Damages"), related to or arising out of the convention to be held pursuant to this contract or the occupancy and use of the hotel and any of the hotel's facilities or services (other than a dispute as to this contract) whether provided directly by the hotel or a contractor to the hotel, which damages shall be caused in whole or part by the negligence or willful misconduct of the HOTEL or any of its employees or contractors.

ABC REGION OF PHI THETA KAPPA agrees to indemnify the HOTEL and its officers, directors, employees, agents and affiliates and hold each of them harmless from and against all losses, costs, expenses (including reasonable fees, expenses, and disbursements to its attorneys) and liabilities, including those resulting from any litigation or other proceeding ("Damages"), related to or arising out of the convention to be held pursuant to this contract or the occupancy and use of the hotel and any of the hotel's facilities or services (other than a dispute as to this contract) which damages shall be caused in whole or part by the negligence or willful misconduct of ABC REGION OF PHI THETA KAPPA or its employees (but not its members).

Some venues will request you provide them with a certificate of liability insurance. Submit a request to headquarters to be listed as additional insured on Phi Theta Kappa's liability insurance policy. You can do this by emailing Saralyn Quinn at Saralyn.Quinn@ptk.org and provide the following information:

  • Name of Meeting
  • Dates
  • Location
  • Contact Person's Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • State that both parties will carry sufficient insurance to cover any claims.
  • Specify how notices are to be sent and that they are effective upon receipt.
  • Stipulate that if the hotel is overbooked, the hotel will pay for a room at another comparable property and daily transportation until a room in the hotel is available. State that the hotel also will pay for two five-minute phone calls and attempt to upgrade the guest upon return. Require that relocated rooms and room revenue will be credited to the group's overall pickup.
  • State that no additional charges, not specified in this contract, or any addendum, will be incurred by ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa for work performed or for services or items provided by the HOTEL unless the HOTEL has first obtained prior written permission from an authorized representative of ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa to have the work completed or the service or item provided.

Example:

Neither ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa nor its attendees will be responsible for additional surcharges, gratuities, or service fees not included in this contract without ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa's or an attendee's written consent, respectively.

Include a merger clause stating that the contract and attachments constitute the entire agreement and contain all terms, including benefits and liabilities.

Stipulate that the contract prevails over ancillary terms, such as policies and procedures, and that changes can be made only in writing.

Establish that the rest of the contract is still valid even if any provision is unenforceable under applicable law.

State that the individuals signing the contract have the authority to do so and that only these individuals are authorized to make decisions on behalf of ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa. Add signature lines and identifying information – name, title, group name and date.

  • Set a specific date or time frame for determination of the final adjusted room block, which is the figure that will be used to calculate any attrition. Indicate there will be no charge for room block adjustments up to that date or time frame.
  • When adding the amounts due for each night to arrive at the cumulative total, factor in resold rooms, rooms unavailable for sale, miscoded and relocated rooms, rooms outside the block and rooms exceeding the block that offset slippage on other nights. Require documentation for the hotel's figures.
  • State that after receipt of the attrition charge, the hotel will not seek additional performance damages.

Example:

This agreement is based on Group's use of 506 total room nights. Group agrees that if Group uses less than the room block established in this agreement, Hotel may be harmed. Hotel will allow Group 20% room block shrinkage without any liquidated damage payment. For shrinkage over and above this allowance, the Hotel will require payment from Group for each unused room night at 75% of the confirmed group single room rate for rooms not paid for up to 80% of the final committed room block. No tax shall be payable on attrition damages unless required by state law. Attrition damages will be invoiced within thirty (30) days after the meeting dates. Group will pay liquidated damages only for unused rooms in the Group block that were not resold by Hotel and that remained for sale by the Hotel. Hotel must provide occupancy reports or similar documentation of rooms sold and available for sale over Group's meeting dates along with invoice for attrition damages.

  • Create a sliding scale of day or date ranges prior to arrival, along with percentages of room revenue profit that the group will pay if cancellation takes place within that range.
  • Require documentation for resold rooms and rooms unavailable for sale.
  • State that after receipt of the cancellation charge, the hotel will not seek additional cancellation damages.

Example:

This letter of agreement shall bind ABC Region of Phi Theta Kappa and Hotel. In the event that Group does not use the rooms and space and related services outlined in this Agreement for reasons other than those outlines in the Termination and Excuse of Performance clause, Group agrees that Hotel may experience financial losses and Group will owe liquidated damages to Hotel. The following sliding scale represents liquidated damages, and not a penalty, to be paid by Group in the event of cancellation:

Cancellation On or After But Before Liquidated Damages
7/1/2005 9/1/2005 10% of total anticipated room revenue
9/1/2005 1/1/2006 50% of total anticipated room revenue
1/1/2006 3/1/2006 75% of total anticipated room revenue

For purposes of this contract, "total anticipated room revenue" shall be calculated by multiplying the negotiated single group room rate by the number of rooms in the contracted block at the time of cancellation, less allowable slippage and comps. Group will have no liability for unused rooms in the Group room block that are resold by the Hotel or that remain unavailable for sale over any of Group's meeting dates. No tax shall by payable on cancellation damages unless required by state law.

Cancellation damages will be due and payable within thirty (30) days after anticipated meeting dates, as long as the Hotel has provided Group occupancy reports and proof of efforts to mitigate its damages by reselling rooms.

Include a force majeure clause that is mutual, incorporates at least one broad standard for excuse of performance (like "inadvisable"), and provides a catchall phrase such as "any other emergency."

Example:

Termination & Excuse of Performance:

The performance of this Agreement is subject to termination without liability upon the occurrence of any circumstance beyond the control of either party – such as acts of God, war within the United States, acts of terrorism within the United States, government regulations, disaster, strikes (except those involving the employee or agents of the party seeking the protection of this clause), civil disorder, curtailment of transportation facilities preventing at least 30% of the registered attendees from getting to the Hotel, outbreak of SARS, H1N1 or another health condition within the state of ______, or any other circumstance to the extent that any such circumstance makes it illegal, impossible or inadvisable to provide or use the facility. The ability to terminate this Agreement without liability pursuant to this paragraph is conditioned upon delivery of written notice to the other party setting forth the basis for such termination as soon as reasonably practical after learning of such basis. If any of the above provisions should exist and Group chooses to conduct the meeting, and if applicable, the Hotel will waive room and food & beverage attrition fees and honor any lower group room rates as determined appropriate by both parties.

Rights of Termination for Cause:

Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, neither party shall have the right to terminate their obligations under this Agreement, except as noted above. Either party may terminate this Agreement for cause and without liability for any one or more of the following reasons or occurrences upon written notice to the other party within five (5) days of such occurrence:

a. In the event that either party shall make a voluntary or involuntary assignment for the benefit of creditors or enter into bankruptcy proceedings prior to the meeting date.

b. The Hotel shall promptly notify PTK within ten (10) days and in writing if there is a change in the management company that operates the Hotel prior to the meeting date, in which event PTK shall have the right to terminate this Agreement without liability or penalty upon written notice to the Hotel.

In the event of termination, by the Hotel under this section, the Hotel shall refund all deposits and/or prepayments made by PTK within five (5) days of the notice.

Menu prices – are just that, menu prices. Always negotiate down from the publicized menu price. Start your negotiations below the price your budget can handle and work your way up. Most chefs can design a meal to fit your price range. Firm prices should be established no later than six months out.

Guarantees – most guarantees should be given 48 – 72 hours prior to the function. Specify how weekends affect this deadline.

For Food & Beverage (F&B) guarantees, consider the following variables: location, pre-registration, local attendance, program changes, scheduling, arrival/departure patterns, number of cancellations, number of no-shows, etc.

Ask the hotel to provide for each event the number guaranteed and the number served. Use these percentages for future guarantees.

Taxes and Gratuities – know what the rates are and state whether the service charge is taxable or not.

Specify the banquet staff ratios and state there will be no extra service or labor charges for these service ratios.

F&B Performance Clause – even if there is no performance clause included in the contract, it may not mean that you are free from liability. Consider adding a clause stating that the group will not be liable for any performance charges other than those specified in the contract.

Menus - never sign an F&B contract that specifies the menu of a particular event. Instead, include in the contract how much money you are going to spend. If attendance dips, the same budget could turn a banquet entrée from chicken to filet mignon.

Confirm with the hotel that all charges posted to the master account must have backup, including copies of invoices, signed checks and banquet event orders (BEO).

Review Banquet Event Orders (BEOs) carefully - watch out for phrases like "additional labor charge for groups of less than 20 people."

Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters is now offering regional meeting registration services. Once you’ve signed contracts for your event, registration can be opened. You will need to consider the following:

  • Your registration fees. Please keep in mind when setting fees, Phi Theta Kappa is charged 3% for every credit card transaction by our credit card processing company. You will want to make sure you account for that in your fees.
  • Your registration deadline.
  • Will you have any waived registrations?
  • Your event capacity.
  • Do you want tiered registration fees?
  • Will you allow cancellations? If so, is there a cancellation fee and cancellation deadline?
  • What information do you need to gather from your attendees?

Benefits of running your events through Headquarters:

  • Historical data is preserved.
  • Information at your fingertips.
  • All financial processes (sending of invoices, collecting of past due balances, etc.) are handled by Headquarters.

What do we need from you to get started?

  • Your event information (date, time, location, fees, etc.).
  • Confirmation email text.
  • Once the information is received and confirmed, Headquarters will need 5 days to get the event online.

If you have questions or are interested in setting up an event, email Meagan.Myers@ptk.org.