The title on my business card says “Conference Sales Manager.” However, I see myself more as an Account Representative and/or Account Manager. My primary business objective is to sell, but in order to make my job easier, I rely on repeat business. Therefore, the better those group contracts are managed or serviced, the better the chance that my clients are happy and satisfied, which means return business.
I often find myself explaining contractual language to those clients that are less familiar with venues, sleeping rooms and vendor agreements. For instance, what does “attrition” mean? How about the cancellation terms? How is a cancellation fee calculated? How do we calculate “property damage”? Is a protest down the street that is preventing your meeting to take place considered an “act of God”? Is it “force majeure?” “Frustration of purpose?” What is it?
One could spend the whole day looking at specific components of a contract and how each one is understood and implemented. But I cannot do that, nor do I want to imply that I know all the legal terms of such an important document.
I want to share this article I found by Joan Eisenstodt on the Meetings Focus blog – it’s a great reminder of the importance of looking through your contracts and proposals. In it, you’ll also find a link to the Convention Industry Council’s APEX Contract Accepted Practices. It’s a great reference document anytime you are not sure.
Sellers and buyers… let’s make sure we understand what is legally bonding us together. The success of your event or conference is why we are here in the first place!
Armando Escóbar, CMP
UCLA Conference Services