Hospitality Answerman

About the Hospitality Answerman

Dean Miller, national sales director for Visit Fairfax (, the convention and visitors bureau in Fairfax County, Virginia, is a great friend of reunions. Contact him (703-790-0643; when you are planning a reunion in the Washington, DC, area. Fairfax County is nearby, affordable, and conveniently located to all the area has to offer. 

A hotel contract primer


Q? The hotel we selected for our family reunion just sent me their “standard” contract, and it’s five pages long, single-spaced! Help! How do I make sense of all of the legal mumbo-jumbo? We’re not lawyers, and we hardly know where to start! A! We’re not lawyers, either, and what follows is not legal advice, but rather, some common sense pointers for dealing with any complicated contract presented to you by a hotel or other service provider. First, never sign any contact you haven’t read or don’t understand. If there are any items you don’t understand, ask the hotel representative to explain…

What do I want in my contract?


Q: I was at one of the reunion planning workshops you hosted a few years ago. I remember you saying there were things that should definitely be in any contract we sign with our reunion hotel, and things we definitely want to have the hotel take out or modify. I’ve misplaced my notes from the workshop. Can you please provide the list of “Definitely Want In” and “Definitely Want Out” contract terms? A! Happy to! Contract clauses are one of the areas in planning any reunion where you’ll definitely want to take the time to review everything … several times over. Having…

Translating the hotel contract


Q? The hotel we’re planning to use for our reunion next summer sent me a sample contract to review. It’s so full of jargon and phrases that I’ve never heard of, it’s hard for me to tell what they’re asking us to commit to. Can someone decipher this for me? A! Hoteliers and other providers in the hospitality industry do seem to have a language all their own. Below are some common hotel and catering terms you’re likely to see mentioned in standard proposals and contracts, and what they really mean. (Don’t worry … when the hotel refers to your “pick-up,” they’re…

What if the hotel ownership changes?


446th Bomb Group Reunion in Fairfax County, Virginia. Q? One Reunions forum participant posed this dilemma. I went to the Hampton Inn to sign the hotel contract for the block of rooms I wanted to reserve. I had the pen ready to sign, but I am very careful about signing my name to anything. When the sales manager gave me the contract, she told me they are going to be changing from the Hampton Inn to the Lexington Hotel in April. Upon hearing this, I dropped the pen immediately. I didn’t sign anything. I have never heard of the Lexington Hotel. The…