What to check when reviewing a hotel contract

Contracts are often very large and consist of many pages full of lowercase letters. For this reason, we always check the contract before sending it to you.


You recently started booking conferences or meetings in hotels. After a few weeks of searching for the perfect hotel for your group, you've applied for the contract. However, many questions arise when viewing the contract. Contracts are often very large and consist of many pages full of lowercase letters. We always check the contract before sending it to you. Here's a handy overview of the important parts that you should pay attention to when reading a contract from a hotel:

Signature date

First, you’ve to look at the signature date. Hotels often set impossible deadlines for signing a contract. In a regular corporation, it can take a few weeks before the purchasing department has approved a contract, making it impossible to sign a contract within a week. If you find the signature date too short, you can always ask for a signing date extension. Another option is to ask if it’s possible to have a formal agreement via email until the purchasing department has approved the event and budget.

Are all prices correct?

Hotels make many mistakes while drafting contracts. Especially while entering prices. Therefore, always check whether the room rate is correct and if the breakfast is included. Additionally, you should always check the half and full DDR rates and meeting room costs.

Deposit date

Many hotels for large meetings will require a deposit. Therefore, just like the signature date, check whether the deposit date is in line with your expectations. If the deadline is too early, ensure that you discuss it during contract negotiations.

Many people overlook the question of who guarantees the meeting and the bedrooms. It may be that your department/company is only paying for the meeting while the bedrooms are paid for by the participants. Therefore, always check if you do not inadvertently guarantee the rooms if you are not paying for it. You may have to pay cancellation fees for rooms that you were not supposed to cover.

Minimum guaranteed rooms

If you are not sure about the exact number of participants for your group, it’s very important to look at the minimum number of guaranteed rooms in the contract. Hotels will let you cancel a maximum number of rooms for free until a certain date. Therefore, it’s important to check whether the amount of minimum number of rooms corresponds to the expected number of participants. Always have a lower contract drawn up with the possibility to keep extra rooms. This way the risk is slightly less for the meeting planner.

The same applies for the meeting packages. A hotel always wants to include a minimum number of people in the contract. If there are more cancellations than stated in the contract the company will be required to pay a cancellation fee.
For a GDR, hotels always have a minimum number of people needed to cover the costs of the meeting room. If you fall below this number, the hotel will also charge extra costs.
It’s important to know in advance the minimum number of participants.
Cancellation fee will also be included in the contract. If you’ve to cancel the entire event, the hotel will include a date in the contract indicating the last day of cancellation that is free of charge. This date depends on how far in advance you book the meeting or conference. With last minute bookings a cancellation fee will always have to be paid if you cancel a meeting last minute.
If you’ve booked a meeting well in advance, there’s always a risk that the meeting will not take place. Therefore, check the latest date carefully, as well as the amount of the cancellation fee. If you’ve to cancel a meeting the costs may be extremely high for a meeting that does not take place. In case of an emergency, read here what you need to do to cancel a meeting.
November 20, 2019 — Ruben Overwijn
Last updated: January 04, 2020

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