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1) Never accept a standard hotel contract. Standard hotel contracts are typically one-sided to benefit the hotel. Multiple performance driven clauses that are written in favor of the hotel are typically included in the hotel's contract. Make sure you understand all of these clauses before signing the contract.
2) Fully understand the value and history of your convention, conference or meeting. It is important to know how your meeting has performed in the past as related to what you are requesting in the contract. Hotels will become much more agreeable to items in the contract if you have a proven history. Specifically, make sure to track your room pickup, food and beverage expenditures, audio visual expenditures, shipping costs and any other ancillary costs.