The late Leonard Cohen, a masterful songwriter with a wistful sense of swoon, gave much to the world in the way of lyrical storytelling.
We have no idea if Cohen even knew the MICE industry existed, but nevertheless, his lyrics offer much insight into the nuances of meeting planning—especially when examining some of his famous songs through the lens of contract clauses. Hard to believe? Take a look.
Waiting for the Miracle: The Relocation Clause
“When you’ve fallen on the highway
And you’re lying in the rain,
And they ask you how you’re doing
Of course you’ll say you can’t complain
If you’re squeezed for information,
That’s when you’ve got to play it dumb
You just say you’re out there waiting
For the miracle, for the miracle to come.”
Translation: Your host hotel has overbooked and your VIPs are being dispersed like exiles. In short, you’re totally screwed but “can’t complain.” The verbiage of your relocation or walking clause should include specific details for how situations like this are to be handled and to what extent the host hotel should be liable. If your VIPs are intended to check-in to a five-star hotel, the replacement hotel should also be five-star. Be sure to include mention of transfers to and from the imposter (ahem…new) hotel as well.
Everybody Knows: The Force Majeure
“Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Translation: All hell has broken loose and there is no one to blame. And that’s the good news. The Force Majeure clause applies to extraordinary events (loosely defined as “acts of God”) that are out of everyone’s control. No one is to blame and no one is liable or obligated to fulfill the obligations of the contract. Why? Because “Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.” (For tips on landing a hot mess event, check out Captain Sully’s tips here.)
Hallelujah: The Attrition Clause
“I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.”
Translation: You got stuck with a shady hotel attrition clause and “it all went wrong.” Hopefully, you negotiated to account for the gap between rooms booked and rooms utilized. Perhaps this means allowing the hotel to release those vacant rooms to the public within a specified time frame; perhaps you negotiated to fill only 80 percent of your group’s room block or mutually decided on a cancellation fee. The point, is to flip the script on the proverbial, “I didn’t come to fool ya” conversation with a “hallelujah” instead.