Finalizing Contracts

Once dates and locations have been solidified, locking down and contracting with the hotel and agency partners is a top priority. We have been working the last month on finalizing contracts with our Vegas hotels, Resorts World Las Vegas and Virgin Hotels as well as our agency partner (Encore) and our DMC partner (Hello!). As with any contract negotiation, we are looking for a win-win.  We want our partners to be happy and feel great about doing business with Hilton (especially our own hotels and owners!) as much as we want to make sure the contract works for us.

Contract negotiations provide a great opportunity to review what is important to each party and learn more about their business or market. We also always involve our procurement partners, as mentioned in the previous article. We prefer to work with them on Master Service Agreements for our vendors so that, each time we have a new event, we only have to complete a Statement of Work (SOW). With an SOW, all of the pricing and terms have been agreed to in the MSA, so execution is easy, time-saving and definitely a win-win for all!  We also involve our legal team by having them review each contract. We want our planners, as well as attendees, to be protected and, again, we want the contracts to be fair to all parties.

A few things to look for as you review contracts:

  1. Room block – make sure you have enough rooms during the pre-arrival period for staff and speakers arriving early for rehearsals. Double check your day, dates and room totals.
  2. Rates – request rates for each room type. Avoid “Run of House” language. Know what type of rooms are being blocked for your guests.
  3. Concessions – review what is priority for your group and make sure you ask for it in the contract.
  4. Performance and cancellation terms – review these closely and make sure you understand what you will be held liable for.
  5. Impossibility – many hotels have new language in this section. Review it and have a clear understanding of what your commitment is.
  6. Meeting space – double check that meeting rooms are listed in the contract with correct dates, days, times. Block rooms for set up and tear down. If you need office space, or an extra conference room for VIP meetings, block it while contracting.

PRO TIPS before signing contracts:

  • Have candid conversations with your vendor partners to discuss what is most important to them and what is most important to you when you begin negotiations.
  • Involve procurement for fair pricing and to make sure bids are awarded based on objectives being met.
  • Have your legal team review the contract – there may be new terms or language included post-pandemic.
  • Strive for a WIN WIN! A successful partnership means each side is happy and whole.

Have questions about this week’s diary entry? Email SpecialEvents@Hilton.com to learn more.

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