Practical Tips & Advice

Negotiating contracts

Published: 24 Aug 2010

Contracts with venues is one of the main areas of conflict in the conference business.

To avoid dispute, make sure you read everything carefully and completely understand the terms and conditions.

There may be areas for negotiation, so here are a few things to look out for:

Check details

Make sure the contract contains the key items that are critical to you, such as dates, meeting rooms, space, rates etc. This is particularly important if any extras have been included or you've been given a special rate, as the staff you contract with may no longer be there when the event takes place. It is best to have everything included rather than try to negotiate additional agreements later.

Cancellation schedule

Look at the cancellation schedule as the venue will want to levy a charge if the size of the event changes. Reduce your potential cancellation fees by confirming the minimum number of delegates, but try to book a larger room so you can increase the numbers if necessary. The cancellation schedule will probably include delegate numbers and cut-off dates and you may be able to negotiate these.

Contract changes

You might receive a contract from the venue which has already been signed. If you change the contract and then return it, then this is a counteroffer not a binding contract. If changes are needed then ask for a revised contract to be issued or make sure the venue countersigns the amendments.

Consider conditions that are important to you, but may not occur to the venue. For example, if you need a guarantee that your competitors are not holding a meeting in the venue at the same time, then include this in the contract.


Content provided by the Event Organisers' Guide by Trinity Conferences Ltd

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