The hospitality industry is a world unto its own, sometimes speaking
its own language on contracts and in person.
Below, take advantage of
this helpful list of commonly used terms by catering and banquet managers.
- Service Charges and Taxes (++):
The service charge, generally between 18-21% is almost
always in addition to the prices quote on menus and on contracts.
This service charge, in many states is taxable by law.
This is because it is not considered a tip, which is discretionary
and up to the client. It is a saleable item and because it is so,
the law requires it be taxed. Hotels have no say over this and it
is wise to know that every item that has a price with "++" after it
indicates "plus service charge and tax". The percentage of service
charge and tax should always be clearly stated on all printed materials,
including the menus, contracts and standard terms and conditions that you sign.
If you prefer to have a bottom line price and not figure out the service charge and tax,
simply ask your catering manager to provide you a separate estimate that
shows what the price is per person inclusive of service charge and tax.
- Sleeping rooms vs. meeting rooms vs. banquet rooms vs. conference rooms.
Sleeping rooms refers to hotel rooms, overnight accommodations.
Meeting rooms, banquet rooms, reception rooms, etc. are all interchangeable:
they refer to any meeting or event space/room in which a banquet, meeting, reception, etc.
is held. The term "banquet" is used for any function
including meetings, luncheons, weddings, dinners.
- Room rental:
Generally negotiable, especially if your group has booked a significant number
of sleeping rooms and food and beverage for your meeting rooms, this is a rate
that is charged to occupy the hotels banquet/ meeting rooms.
- BEO/Catering Contract:
BEO (Banquet Event Order) or Catering Contract is the document that shows
Everything you have requested and ordered to the Catering Manager.
It should indicate times, food and beverage items and instructions and room preference set-up.
Always carefully review this document before signing it and never assume that because you
mentioned something verbally to your catering manager that it will be implemented.
It should always be mentioned on the BEO/Catering Contract.
Shuttle transportation to/ from the hotel to airports or local attractions.
Often transfers are complimentary. Ask.
- Package Plans:
Sometimes more economical than booking everything separately,
package plans can include special extras with your room such as
breakfasts or dinners, room service, chilled champagne, spa access, etc.
Always ask your travel agent or the hotel if they have any special package plans.
A desk at most major hotels where the staff is equipped to deal
exclusively with booking tickets and reservations to restaurants,
tours, shows, transportation, etc. The concierge is usually fully
knowledgeable of the local area and can offer tips and recommendations
of everything local. It is customary to tip your concierge when he/ she helps you.
- Bell Captain:
Assists with luggage upon arrival to the hotel.
He/she ensures your luggage makes it from your arrival to your room.
The bell captain can also store your luggage upon your arrival if your room
isn't ready for check-in yet or on your day of departure if you do not
have a place to store your luggage upon check out. Sometimes business
meeting materials are stored with the bell captain prior to arrival.
Check with your catering sales manager about the appropriate policy in
shipping your materials prior to your arrival.
Hails a cab, opens your taxi door when you arrive, etc. and should be tipped.
- Maitre D':
Heads the reservation/host desk at upper-scale restaurants.
It is his/her job to oversee and coordinate reservations, seating, servers, etc.
The Maitre D' commands much respect and is the one to see for special requests, concerns, comments, etc.
- Telephone Surcharge:
Most hotels now charge a fee for use
of the phone in your room, no matter if the call is local, 800 or a credit card call.
Make sure you understand your hotel's phone charges in advance.
- Spa/Fitness Center Accessibility:
An area where one can work out,
get a massage, etc. Some hotels charge for access to this area unless you have
a package deal including this. Verify when you check in.
- Pool Attendant:
Typically hands out towels
and is there to facilitate questions, assist you with finding a lounge chair, etc.
- Banquet Captain:
The individual in charge of your function
the day of the event. This person oversees the banquet staff and generally
acts as liaison between you and the staff.
- Banquet Staff:
The people in charge of setting up, serving,
and cleaning up your event.
- Catering Manager or Conference Services Manager:
The sales person
who initially takes your event booking, coordinates all the contracts,
meets with you in the time preceding your event and acts as liaison in
coordinating your communication and wishes to the Banquet Captain and staff.
Everything you tell the Catering Manager will go onto a contract for the Banquet
Captain and his/her staff to implement.
- Catering Director:
is the Department Head
for the entire Catering Sales, Administrative and Banquet Staff.
The Catering Director's job is to oversee these various departments,
develop and manage departmental budgets, public relations, sales and marketing campaigns, etc. I
n some hotels, the Director of Catering (or DOC) is the same as the Catering Manager.
- Sleeping Rooms Contract:
If you book a block of sleeping
rooms for your group, you should always have a contract for this
showing how many of each room type you have booked.
This is a separate contract from your catering contract or BEO.
- Guarantees, Minimums, etc:
Every property has a minimum requirement for their meeting rooms. This
minimum requirement is generally a dollar amount required to be spent,
but some properties have minimum person requirements. Find out. If the
day of your event comes and your numbers fall below the minimum requirement,
you will still be charged the minimum amount. An estimated number of
attendees is required when you book your event and a guarantee of attendees
is generally due 3 days prior to your event. Based on your guarantee,
the Executive Chef purchases food and in some cases, pre-prepares some
of the menu items for your event. So, after this 3-day prior guarantee
is given, you may not reduce your guarantee, but you may Add
to it. Always check your contract and double-confirm with your Catering
Manager on the policies unique to their property.