Conferences and Meetings
As of June 7, 2012, conferences and meeting events require pre-approval. All HQ Offices and IHS Areas must enter, on the IHS Conference Collection Site, all conference information available as planning is conducted for each event. All conferences should be listed on the IHS Conference Collection Site, regardless of amount and including those that may qualify as exceptions to the conference approval requirements.
Approval is also required prior to obligation of funds to acquire non-federal space for meetings that are not subject to the conference approval requirement.
- Purchase Card holders can only sign hotel agreements up to their single purchase limit.
- Only Purchase Card holders or Contracting Officers are authorized to sign hotel agreements.
Common items to look out for:
- Attrition provisions - Attrition clauses are a part of standard hotel contracts and are used to ensure that organizations fulfill their contracted obligations. Attrition fees are applied when a conference group cannot fill at least 80%, or an otherwise agreed upon percentage, of the contracted number of rooms. Request that this clause be removed. If the hotel refuses, negotiate a lower percentage rate.
- Indemnity clauses - At its most basic, an indemnification clause says: "If you get in trouble because of something I did, I'll bail you out." Indemnification is a way of making sure that the liability ultimately falls to the person who is responsible for the damage or loss. The main problem with this hotel contract clause is that it is one-sided. The group is indemnifying the hotel, but the hotel is not indemnifying the group. The IHS should never agree to an Indemnity Clause.
- Food - There are very limited circumstances in which it is authorized to purchase food with appropriated funds. Contact your contracting official for a determination.
- Taxes - The IHS never pays for State or Federal taxes. However, there are some taxes that are imposed on the hotel which can be passed onto the consumer. Taxes such as luxury taxes or taxes imposed by tribal governments are authorized.
- Liquidated damages - - Liquidated damages (also referred to as liquidated and ascertained damages) are damages whose amount the parties designate during the formation of a contract for the injured party to collect as compensation upon a specific breach. These kinds of clauses should be removed if possible. An example would be cancelling the meeting. It is common to see cancellation clauses 48-72 hours in advance but be wary of agreeing to any lengthy cancellation clauses.
- Charges to the Master Account - The only charges to the master account should be for the meeting room rental and audio visual requirements. The individuals attending the meeting are responsible for their own rooms and expenses. An example of an unallowable charge to the master account is valet parking.
- Advance planning is a must! If you are negotiating with a hotel that refuses to change any of the above items, you should leave yourself enough time to find another hotel.
- Necessary conference/meeting approval is needed BEFORE Purchase Card Request is created.
- DAP is always available to review hotel agreements. Please allow 5 days for review and comment.