Guidelines for Hotel and Event Agreements

Purpose: Provide planning and contract review assistance for hotel and event agreements to be concluded at the departmental level.

Planning for your Hotel Event:

  • Visit UChicago Travel for a list of current Preferred Suppliers.
  • Consider your department's event budget to determine the appropriate Hotel for the event. Consider two or three properties to review. You may use the Hotel Solicitation Form to make a concise list of event requirements. Submit the form to the selected properties to receive a proposal. If you tour the hotel, a Property Evaluation Form may be used to rate how the hotel meets your needs..

Preferred Hotels:

  • Hotels in this grouping have signed a Master Group Agreement with the University, thereby eliminating the need to use the hotel's contract. Disregard any hotel agreement from a supplier in this listing except the Hyatt Place Chicago (see below). When using a Hotel in the Preferred Hotel Master Group List, define the specific requirements for your event and follow the instructions on the Exhibits below.
              Exhibit A (Sleeping Room Block)
              Exhibit B (Meeting Space, Food & Beverage, or Equipment Rental)
              Hyatt Place Chicago-South Group Rooms and Function Space
  • Hotels in the University Preferred Hotel Program should offer rates that are comparable to our standard nightly rate listed in the contract announcement.
  • We strongly recommend you ask for a lower rate than what has been offered. You may receive a lower rate or the hotel may advise it is their best offer.
  • Request the room rate be available three days before and after the event.
  • Meeting room rental fees should be complimentary. Do not pay a rental fee in any room where a meal is being served.
  • If the room rate is being paid by the guest, the hotel should charge one night’s deposit to the guest’s credit card. The University should not be responsible for a deposit.
  • The event deposit should be no more than 10% of the total event cost. If you would like to have charges for the event billed in a summary following the event, ask the hotel for a direct bill application. (A Direct Bill or Master Account allows for an invoice of all designated charges be sent after the event. The invoice is submitted to the department approximately 7 days following the event with Net 30 payment terms.) Refer to Instructions to Set-Up a Hotel Master Account for Direct Billing.

Non-Preferred Hotels:

  • This process is followed for hotels that are not in the Preferred Hotel Program.
    Step 1: Obtain the hotel agreement
    Step 2: Strike out the sections in the Hotel agreement that are referenced by section heading in the Hotel Addendum
    Step 3: Complete the upper portion of the Addendum
    Step 4: Submit the Hotel Addendum to the hotel. This addendum mitigates the University's risk.
    Step 5: Have the hotel sign the addendum, then the department signs.
  • If the hotel will not accept the Hotel Addendum follow these guidelines:
    At a minimum the hotel must accept our indemnification, cancellation and attorney and litigation clauses. Submit the Venue Addendum for these events which address these three areas.
    Instructions: Review the following sections of the agreement paying particular attention to these areas:
    • Room Block and Rate – Verify the agreed upon rate is on the contract. Make sure the rate quoted in the proposal is the same as the rate in the contract.
    • Cancellation of Guest Reservations – This should be 48 hours prior to check in. If the contract has 72 hours, ask for it to be changed to 48 hours.
    • Cut-Off Date – This is the final date the hotel will accept reservations at the group rate. The date should be 2 to 3 weeks prior to the event start date. (If longer, request it be shortened accordingly.)
    • Reservation Method – Guest should be able to call a central number to make their reservation or University department will provide a rooming list. Make sure the method is correct.
    • Ask for an identifier for the event - a code or specific name. This will assist in identifying the reservations associated with the event.
    • Taxes – Occupancy Tax is charged on every guest room night.
    • Billing Arrangements – Verify payment arrangements are as stated on the proposal.
    • Attrition – Is the allowable reduction in either lodging or food and beverage without financial risk to the University. Attrition fees are charged based on a percentage of the contractual minimums in the contract.
                Verify the attrition rate is 80% or lower. (If the percentage is above 80%, request 80%).
    • What happens when attrition isn’t met by the group?
                If 80% of the room block and/or food and beverage minimum aren’t met, the hotel will bill the group for the difference.
                Example: Contracted Room Block is 100 room nights, Attrition is 80% (80 room nights), Group used only 60 room nights, Group now owes for the 20 unused room nights. Hotel will submit an invoice for 20 room nights @ the single room night rate plus tax.
                It is very important to make a low estimate on the number of room nights in the block.
    • Cancellation – This allows the group to cancel the event without paying for the entire contract. Food and Beverage cancellation shouldn’t be charged until 2 months prior to the event. Food is ordered or purchased approximately 30 days prior to event. 
                Verify the sliding scale is incorporated into the contract. If the actual grid is different, then modify the days and percentages accordingly. 
Dates Damages
Contract Signing to 121 days to start date of event No Penalty Applies
120 days up to 91 days prior to start date of event 25% of Guestroom Revenue only
90 days up to 61 days prior to start date of event 50% of Guestroom Revenue only
60 days up to 31 days prior to start date of event

75% of Guestroom Revenue,
40% of Food & Beverage, and Rental Minimums

30 days prior to start date of event

85% of Guestroom Revenue,
80% of Food & Beverage, and Rental Minimums

  • Indemnification – This language addresses which party is responsible should incidents occur. The University's standard language must be used which is covered in the Venue Addendum. Strike out the Venue's clause.
  • Attorney and/or Litigation Fees – It is the University's standard business practice not to be responsible for the prevailing party's attorney fees or court costs. Each party is responsible for their own attorney fees or court cost if the agreement is taken to litigation. The University's standard language must be used which is covered in the Venue Addendum. Strike out the Venue's clause.

When the review processes is completed, initial and date all sections in the Venue's agreement that were stricken. Send the contract back to the Venue representative. Request they also initial and date the changes as well as signing the Venue Addendum. Upon receipt, countersign and return a copy to the Venue. Department should keep a copy of the executed contract on file.

Addendums - Restaurant, Catering and Charter Vessel

The use of the Addendum process mitigates the University's risk.


  • Strike out the sections in the Venue agreement that are referenced in the applicable Addendum.
  • Have the Venue sign our Addendum.
  • Submit the Addendum to the Venue. The University is not tax exempt from Hotel Occupancy Tax in Chicago, IL.
  • Sales tax can be removed from Food and Beverage services by submitting our STATE (IL) Tax Exempt Form
  • Other States with Exemption Status: CT, FL, MA, MI, MN, MO, NY, TN, TX, WI
  • Check the State travel tax exemption status for lodging, car rental and food/beverage exemptions.

Submit the applicable Addendum listed below to the venue. Venue returns both the signed addendum and the signed event contract. Department countersigns the venue's contract and prepares the deposit as required. Retain a copy for your records.

If an addendum is not accepted change the following:
Cancellation and Dual Indemnification to meet the Standard University language.

Review of Facility Space Rental:

To conduct Space Rental reviews, target the following areas:

  • Review the contract for event date and rate accuracy.
  • Use "The University of Chicago" as the legal party and not an individual’s name.
  • Cancellation – verify the cancellation penalty is due only if the event is canceled 30 days or less prior to event.
  • Use the University’s Venue Addendum.
  • If the contract is requesting the University provide insurance, then send the contract to Risk Management. A Risk Management Analyst will provide a certificate of insurance or a letter stating the University is self-insured.
  • Initial and date all changes, send contract to the venue. Venue will counter initial and date the changes before signing and returning the contract to the department. Department will countersign and return a copy to the venue.