Reservation Cancellation Policy

In 2003, with reluctance, the Executive Committee passed a new policy regarding meeting reservations and attendance:

  1. We ask that members make reservations for events by the reservations deadline so that we may give the caterer as accurate a count of attendees as possible.
  2. We ask that, should a member then not be able to attend, that they call at least one business day before (or email 2 business days before) the event to cancel, so that we can reduce our obligation with the caterer.
  3. We ask that, if a member with a reservation did not attend and did not cancel their reservation in time, they will understand why we may have to ask them to still pay the attendance fee.

It was not our preference to establish this policy.  Even though many other professional societies have similar policies, we tried to avoid emulating it.  However, it is our responsibility to maintain the financial health of the Section on behalf of our members and we could not allow our meetings to operate as a continuing financial loss.

At IEEE Central Tennessee Section we try to make our programs as interesting and easy to attend as possible.  Most of our meetings are scheduled so that they may be attended over a slightly longer lunch hour, or just after the work day.  Consequently, we usually make commitments with a caterer to provide a meal, and for longer programs, other refreshments, based on the number of people who make a reservation to attend.  We are obligated to pay the caterer for the number of people we predict will attend.   In addition, for some programs, we pay honorariums so that we may bring our members speakers of exceptional quality and renown.

We do not generally try to make money from our meeting fees.  Our goal for monthly meetings is really just to break even, overall.

For a while, we were losing money at almost every meeting.  People would reserve a place at the meeting and then, for whatever reasons, not be able to attend.  Sometimes, "walk-in" attendees would balance out some of the people who could not attend.  However, the trend was that we were consistently losing money because we were paying the caterer for people who made reservations but could not attend.

We hope that you now understand why we had to establish this policy, and that you will work with us to make our meetings successful in every possible way.

Thank you,

IEEE Central Tennessee Executive Committee