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Force Majeure Hotel Contracts: A Guide for Hoteliers and Event Planners

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in the hospitality industry. With restrictions on travel and large gatherings, hotels and event planners have been forced to adapt to the new normal. This has led to a surge in force majeure clauses in hotel contracts. In this article, we’ll discuss what force majeure means and how it affects hotel contracts.

What is Force Majeure?

Force majeure is a clause in a contract that excuses a party’s performance if circumstances beyond their control make performance impossible or impracticable. These circumstances may include natural disasters, war, terrorism, strikes, pandemics, or any other event that could not have been foreseen or prevented.

In hotel contracts, force majeure clauses are included to protect both parties in the event of unforeseeable circumstances. They usually specify which events would trigger the clause, the time frame within which the parties must notify each other of its invocation, and how it would affect the parties’ obligations under the contract.

How Does Force Majeure Affect Hotel Contracts?

Hotel contracts typically include force majeure clauses to protect both the hotel and the event planner in case unforeseeable circumstances prevent the event from taking place. For example, if a hurricane forces the hotel to close, the force majeure clause may allow the event planner to cancel the event without incurring penalties.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, force majeure clauses have become even more important. Hotels and event planners have had to cancel or postpone events because of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and health concerns. In some cases, the force majeure clause may also allow for renegotiation of the contract terms, such as the pricing or the date of the event.

It’s important to note that force majeure clauses are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The specific terms and conditions of the clause will depend on the contract and the parties’ negotiating power. As a hotelier or event planner, it’s essential to understand the language and provisions of the force majeure clause before signing the contract.


Force majeure clauses are a crucial component of hotel contracts, especially in the current landscape of unpredictability. They protect both parties in the event of unforeseeable circumstances that would make it impossible or impracticable to perform under the contract. However, the precise language and provisions of the clause will depend on the contract and the parties’ negotiating power. As an experienced copy editor, I recommend that hoteliers and event planners work with legal counsel to ensure that their contracts contain clear and enforceable force majeure clauses.