Tips and Tricks to Successfully Navigate Event Contracts with Industry Expert, Heather Reid

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It’s that time again. You’ve just been assigned to a new event and you need to confirm the venue. It’s exciting, your mind is going a mile a minute thinking about how to make this event the best one yet, and then you get it: the long, wordy, and time consuming venue contract. You try not to let this get you down, so you read through it quickly, perhaps even skimming some of the lengthy paragraphs that you have read hundreds of times before. Yet, this contract is binding and it is important to not rush this step. We are here to give you some tips and things to look out for while reviewing contracts and cancellation policies.


Heather Reid is the founder of Planner Protect, a boutique contract review agency. Heather started Planner Protect after the realization that many people in the industry were not as well versed in contract knowledge as they could be. She has had over 20 years of experience and Redstone is so grateful to have learned from her wealth of knowledge.

Contract Negotiation

Every single thing in a contract is negotiable. Industry professionals often view contracts as a document that cannot be changed. Of course it can, so don’t be timid to ask!  Make sure you spend time reviewing the contract and making note of what you would like changed. Once you are prepared, don’t be afraid to push back on clauses that are written in the contract.

Don’t stop at the first no: You have spoken to a representative and they have denied one of your changes, but don’t stop there. Try to rephrase the change request, ask for a sales manager that is authorized to make contract revisions or skip to the next request and circle back to the first one later.

Cancellation vs Termination

Cancellation and termination are often used interchangeably; however, they have two very different meanings.

Event Cancellation: Event cancellation occurs when the event host or the venue needs to cancel and the payment of damages is involved.

4 event cancellation scenarios should be covered in every contract:

  • Event host to the venue- If the client wants to cancel, what do they owe the venue
  • Event host to the venue- If the client breaches contract, what do they owe the venue
  • Venue to the event host- If the venue wants to cancel, what do they owe the client
  • Venue to the event host- If the venue breaches contract, what do they owe the client

Avoid any grey areas and ensure you spend the time confirming that all these situations are covered in your contract in the event that cancellation does occur.

Event Termination:

Event termination implies that the contract was cancelled due to a disaster that was beyond either parties control and therefore, any exchange of money should be returned.   Such things include but are not limited to a fire, flood or harsh weather conditions. Be sure to have all situations accounted for. For example if you are planning an event in a hurricane zone, make sure to include a clause about this. Take your time in order to think of any situation that may arise.

Next time you are struggling with a contract review, look no further. Planner Protect has a variety of resources, such as webinars and training sessions. By using these tools and improving your contract knowledge you’ll be ready to confidently sign your next contract! Let us know any other best practices you use when reviewing a contract. Leave a comment below or share them with us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

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