Each month we discuss a tip to consider as you negotiate your contract with the hotel for your conference and meeting. As authorities on this process, we have taken note over the years and each month we share a tip with our readers. We really do have a list of 101 things to negotiate!
Here is this month's tip: Right to Quiet!
Pending the style and culture of your meeting, you may need to ensure that you have a quiet environment to conduct your meeting. This is not a standard contract clause but rather one that you need to know about and add as required. This case is separate from a construction clause while they are certainly related.
If the noise to the group is fundamental, a determination must then be made that it is unreasonable for the group to bear it, or to bear it without compensation. This is a balancing process weighing the relative interests of both parties in the event one group is being too loud beside another. These sorts of situations are certainly not something the hotel wishes to resolve, so they carefully book according to the type of meeting a group is having. There are instances, especially in larger hotels, that even more than two groups are in-house, and instances where one group is having a break while the other is in session.
The hotel and client need to consider:
• Extent and duration of the disturbance;
• Nature of the harm;
• Social value of the client's use of his or her property or other interest;
• Burden to the client for disturbance
• Value of the hotel's conduct and response;
• Motivation of the hotel to mitigate the issue;
• Feasibility of the hotel's ability to have prevented the harm.
As always, fairness and logic prevail in these sorts of situations and often a simple request to 'keep it down' will suffice. Even having this clause in a contract makes both parties more aware of the need for a quiet environment and so the hotel will simply book the Scottish Highland Bagpipe Drum band for a different week.
In the early days of my career, it was my client who was using a bull horn to rally the delegates while next door accountants were writing their final exams. There was certainly a neighborly dispute that afternoon and the hotel in the end had to reimburse the accountants for the disturbance. In those days, it never occurred to me to ask if my client was going to use a bullhorn! Funny how we learn and I now go into great detail to understand precisely what is taking place in the meeting room.
Sssssh learning in progress!