By Kawania H. Wooten CMP
Right now, numerous event planning pros are walking their clients through the process of postponing their events. And, they are able to do this with minimal drama because they made sure that they had a “Rebook” clause in their management contract and they make sure the venue had a “Rebook” clause in their contract.
So, what is a “rebook clause?” Here are two explanations for you —
A Rebook Clause for a Hotel or Venue: A “rebook clause” was created by the people who represent hotels and venues — It protects them when their client or group needs to postpone (translation: cancel and reschedule) a meeting or event that is currently booked at the hotel. In the past, the meeting and event planner would let the hotel or venue rep know about their need to change the event dates and the hotel rep would simply move their event to the new date. But, that left little protection for the hotel or venue — especially when revenue was lost as a result of the date change. So they added a “Rebook Clause” to their contract and it allows the client or group to cancel the event. Then, use the cancellation or attrition dollars paid towards a future meeting or event at the same hotel or venue. In a nutshell, that cancellation or attrition fee essentially becomes a “deposit” for a future meeting or event. Here is the caveat — The meeting or event has to be very similar to the meeting or event that was canceled, and it has to take place on mutually agreed upon dates that occur within the time period specified in the contract (typically within 6 – 12 months).
A Rebook Clause for a Consultant: As an event professional, I encourage to also have a rebook clause in your management contract. Why? Because sometimes events need to be postponed (translation: canceled and rescheduled) for one reason or another. And, if you don’t have a “Rebook Clause” in your contract, the terms for your client’s rebooking are left up to interpretation. Quite frankly, this clause protects both the event professional and the client.
Why would an event professional have a “Rebook” Clause in their contract? For one reason or another, a client may have to reschedule their event. But, this cancellation/reschedule can put an event planner in a precarious situation since most event planners are typically finished with most of their event work approximately four (4) weeks prior to an event. The rebook clause in the Howerton+Wooten Events management contract allows our clients the space to cancel and reschedule their event if need be. For your reference, here are a few of the stipulations noted in our current “Rebook” clause.
- The client’s reason for postponing (canceling/rescheduling) the event has to be the result of a circumstance that is noted in our Force Majeure clause.
- Our team works with the client to reschedule the event, and we credit a portion of their fee to their new event. Side Note: We relaxed this clause for the events we recently rescheduled because of the coronavirus and credited 100% of our fee to their new event.
- The new event dates have to be mutually agreed upon. If we cannot agree upon a new date, the event will simply be classified as a cancelled event and all of the money due must be paid.
- The new dates have to take place within 9 months of the originally scheduled event.
So, here is the deal — I am not an attorney. Just a meeting and event pro who has experienced a lot over the years. Check with your attorney and make sure that you have the coverage you need in case of a cancelled or postponed event.
Kawania Wooten is the principal consultant at Howerton+Wooten Events, LLC. Known to her friends and family as Kay, she uses artistic skills, her keen attention to the smallest details and her strong commitment to customer service as the hallmark of her business. As the founder of the company, Kawania strives for professionalism, creativity and impeccable organization within every function planned by Howerton+Wooten Events.