Case Study: Reopening a Contract



Active Healthy Kids is a Canadian non-profit that advocates quality, accessible and enjoyable physical activity experiences for young people. This past spring, Active Healthy Kids hosted its first Global Summit, a four-day symposium that brought together approximately 900 attendees from around the world.


The former project leader of Active Healthy Kids had done a poor job of negotiating the contract with the host hotel, one of Toronto’s premiere conference venues. The contract had very few concessions, especially given the size and scope of the 2014 Global Summit. When Lindsay Whiting took over as the charity’s new project leader, she asked the hotel to reopen the contract but was declined. As a last-ditch effort Lindsay reached out to our team but by this time the contract had been signed and sealed for 14 months. Once a contract is closed, the venue has absolutely no obligation to reopen it. In fact, opening signed contracts is simply not done. From the hotel’s perspective, revenue from each contract is forecasted into their overall profit and spend.

negotiation at table with notepad and ipad


Our team didn’t waste any time. Tracey, who is one of our business development specialists, and Terry, our VP, went straight to the venue’s decision makers—the Director of Sales and the Director of Conference Services—to request a face-to-face meeting. They agreed.

We attribute our success of getting our foot through the door to a positive and longstanding relationship with the hotel. For the past 30-odd years we’ve brought them lots of business, and in return they’ve given our clients excellent service and concessions. That’s the quantifiable part.

Less quantifiable, but just as valuable, is the comfort level and the trust we’ve developed with all of our supplier partners. Feelings run deep and when people like each other, they go out of their way to please the other party.

During the 45-minute meeting we went through the existing contract, item by item. Through a process of give and take, we came up with a new contract that was acceptable to both our client and the hotel.


“When starting my new job, I inherited a poorly negotiated venue contract with restricted room access and only two small concessions for a 1,200- guest room block over four nights. I attempted to take action but the venue was unwilling to budge. The exceptional team at Meridican stepped in and was able to use their expertise and influence to renegotiate the contract. Thanks to Meridican we saved over $50,000, which will go a long way to keeping our event on budget. The professionalism, passion and friendliness of the team at Meridican is wonderful; they truly are a pleasure to work with.”

Lindsay Whiting, Project LeaderActive Healthy Kids Canada


Recognizing the individual needs and expectations of both our client and the hotel, we asked one simple question: How do we get to fair? Using this as our guiding principle, we successfully negotiated the following concessions: better room rate, guestroom upgrades, complimentary Wi-Fi, discounted meeting space and deferred interest rates. Combined we saved Active Healthy Kids approximately $50,000.

child running in front of orange skyline