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Conferences and Events

Conferences & Events Agreements

Utilize the Hotel and Event Agreement checklist, the Payment Method flowchart, and the following information to determine the procedure you need to follow for various conferences and event agreements. Please note: some forms and checklists are interactive and include show/hide functionality. These forms work best when downloaded and opened in a desktop reader app. Users may experience compatibility issues or errors if opening these within their internet browser or on mobile devices.

If you are not yet registered to use specialty forms or Contracts+ in the PantherExpress System, please review System Access & Training for instructions to gain access. 

Event Agreement Requirements

Most event agreements required by non-University venues contain non-standard terms and conditions that must be reviewed and approved by Purchasing Services prior to the event. In accordance with University policy FN 07, departmental event planners must use a University-approved agreement.

  • Agreements with a Signature Venue, using a University-negotiated Event Master Agreement, and valued at $10K or less may be signed by the departmental approver to become fully-executed. The fully-executed agreement and any supporting documentation must be retained in compliance with the University's Records Retention Policy.
  • All contracts valued over $10,000, regardless of Signature Venue status, must be submitted through a contract request within the PantherExpress System with 1) the contract type selected as “Conference & Event – Signature Venue”;  and 2) the under $10,000 option selected. A Directed or Sole Source Justification (DSSJ) form is required. Submit the DSSJ along with the agreement through the PantherExpress System.
  • All contracts with a non-Signature venue must also be submitted through a contract request in the PantherExpress System, regardless of cost.
  • All University departments must have a fully executed contract for payment(s) to be made by the University.

Hotel Program

Anthony Travel, in coordination with the University, provides a managed Hotel Program for all groups, events and individual business reservation that require hotel accommodations. This program provides the following benefits:

  • Help mitigate risk in the negotiation phase with Anthony Travel working directly with hotels to obtain the most favorable pricing and terms. 
  • Increase buying power by leveraging total spend across the University and Anthony Travel. 
  • Provide your department and its guests with discounted accommodations that meet the University's standards of quality and service.
  • Anthony Travel brings a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience working with venues on premier events locally, nationally and internationally that you can leverage for your events.

All contracts with any hotel, regardless of dollar amount, must be initiated through the following process with Anthony Travel's Hotel Program Manager. The Hotel Program Manager has authority to negotiate agreements on behalf of the University and is responsible for cultivating hotel relationships and managing the overall Hotel Program. 

To begin planning your area's next event, please submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System with the contract type selected as "Conference & Event - Hotel (Room Blocks/Conf Space)". 

Agreements without University Payments

If you are reserving a block of hotel rooms for which attendees (not the University) will pay, you must still retain a copy of the fully-executed agreement and submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System with the contract type selected as "Conference & Event - Hotel (Room Blocks/Conf Space)".

Signature Venues

A Signature Venue is a local venue with whom the University has an established Event Master Agreement template which complies with University contracting standards. All contracts with a Signature Venue must use the Event Master Agreement template. Contracts with Signature Venues valued under $10,000 do not require signatures from Purchasing Services and may be signed by a Departmental Approval and the Venue.

Listing of Signature Venues for meeting facilities/banquet rooms

The Grand Concourse
100 West Station Square Drive
Pittsburgh, PA, 15219
Event Agreement Template*

Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Event Agreement Template*
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum Trust, Inc.
4141 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Event Agreement Template*
*Event Agreement Template are only available for review. The venue will complete the agreement and send it to you for a signature.
Booking Instructions

Review the applicable Signature Venue Agreements section of the Checklist for Conference & Event Agreements.

Local Hotels

Visit this page for a list of local hotels, regardless of whether they are a Signature Venue.

Insurance Requirements

Liquor Liability Requirements

The University requires a Certificate of Liability Insurance evidencing liquor liability insurance or host liquor liability insurance when alcohol is being served at University-sponsored events, including cash bars (i.e. the University is not paying for the drinks, but alcohol is still being served in connection with a University-sponsored event).

The Certificate of Liability Insurance must:

  • Name the University as the certificate holder
  • Show evidence of $1 million in liquor or host liquor liability insurance either separately or within the general liability policy

The most efficient method for a department to obtain the certificate is to request it at the same time the actual contract is requested, thereby getting the facility in question to initiate the process of contacting their insurance carrier to obtain the certificate. This process is the same methodology utilized by departments when initiating a Services Agreement with a service provider.

Obtaining a Certificate of Insurance

A venue where the University will be holding an event may require that the University evidence a Certificate of Liability Insurance. If there is such a requirement it must be stated in the fully executed agreement with the University. (Please note that the University prefers not to name a venue as an additional insured.) It is the responsibility of the University department holding the event to request a Certificate of Liability Insurance in accordance with the fully executed agreement from the Office of Risk Management

Payments

Use the Payment Method flowchart for a visual explanation of the payment process. Note: All events must have a fully executed contracted before making any payments.

Direct Bill Payments

Some venues offer a direct bill payment option for meeting space and lodging. In these cases, the venue will provide a credit application.

If the credit application does not contain terms and conditions, the departmental event planner may complete the credit application and sign it.

  • The credit application may require University credit information. To obtain this, submit a University/Business Profile Request.
  • Use the University’s Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exemption certificate to verify the University’s tax exempt status as a Nonprofit Educational Institution.
    • If your event is at an out-of-state venue, check this page to identify if the University has an exception form for the state in which the event will take place.

If the credit application does contain terms and conditions, forward it to pantherexpresscs@cfo.pitt.edu with the subject line, “Request for Direct Billing”.

Check Payments

Complete a Contract Payment Request Form in the PantherExpress System. Follow the instructions provided on the Checklist for Conference & Event Agreements under the "Payment Process for Check Payments" section.

Travel Card Payments

The University Travel Card may be used to pay for University-hosted or–sponsored events or receptions. If using a Travel Card to purchase event services, including space and food, a contract must still be established in the PantherExpress System. Follow the instructions provided on the Checklist for Conferences & Event Agreements under the "Payment Process for Check Payments with Travel Card" section. 

Virtual or Hybrid Conferences and Events

What is a virtual or hybrid conference/event?

A virtual conference is a web-based event that replicates many aspects of a traditional on-location conference, membership meeting, or trade show. It may take place on a standalone basis or in conjunction with an on-location based conference (i.e., a “hybrid” event).

Virtual conferences feature multiple sessions (not just a single webinar or webcast) and may include keynote presentations, training and education workshops, discussion areas, social networking opportunities, exhibit areas for vendors, and various other features. Activities in a virtual conference may take place in real time (synchronously), on demand (asynchronously), or some combination of the two.
University-wide Contracted Suppliers

Accelevents

  • Accelevents is a University-wide Contracted Supplier in the PantherExpress System to be used for virtual/hybrid conferences and events for which it is free for attendees.
  • For virtual/hybrid conferences and events where attendees will be paying to attend, please follow the Registration Process listed below.
  • Visit this page for more information, including how to process an invoice for Accelevents.

Encore Group (USA) LLC (formerly known as PSAV)

  • Encore Group (USA) LLC (formerly known as PSAV) is a University-wide Contracted Supplier in the PantherExpress System to be used for virtual/hybrid conferences and events.
  • The registration process below will need to be followed for all attendees, whether they are attending for free or paying.
  • Visit this page for more information, including how to process an invoice from Encore Group (USA) LLC (formerly known as PSAV).
Registration Process for Virtual/Hybrid Conferences and Events

University of Pittsburgh Departments will need to complete registration for a virtual/hybrid conference/event in one of two ways:

If the department is capable of handling registration and payment (if necessary) on their own through their Pitt Merchant account, then they can send the registration data, once processed on the University’s end, to the virtual conference provider through a data download/upload. For information about the process to become a Pitt Merchant visit ebusiness.pitt.edu/index.php. Please note that it takes 8 to 12 weeks to complete the overall approval process for becoming a Pitt Merchant.

The University’s Conference Services Department offers a registration service through KX Registration that provides registration for all free and paid attendees in which the department would NOT need to become a Pitt Merchant. The administration fee for Conference Services Registration Service is 5% of the total registration revenue and includes support and training from the University’s Conference Services department as well as two complimentary full-page edits to your registration page. If more edits need to be made, the department may incur additional fees. To get started with KX Registration follow the processes below:

  • Contact Conference Services using the Registration Information Form. Once the form is reviewed, a member from Conference Services will reach out to the department to begin the registration process.
  • For paid events - the funds from the registration fees would be sent to Conference Services and then Conference Services would provide the funds to the department in one of the following ways:
    • All registration fees would be deposited into the Conference Services account and then they would transfer the funds (minus the 5% of the total registration revenue) to the department. The transfer can be done in the middle of the registration process or at the end.
    • All registration fees would be deposited into the Conference Services account and then they would transfer the funds to the department. The transfer can be done in the middle of the registration process or at the end. After the funds are transferred, Conference Services would invoice the department separately for the 5% of the total registration revenue. This option would be best for departments that are looking to use Conference Services for other expenses when planning their event, such as Catering, Facilities, Audio Visuals, etc.
  • For free events (Encore Group (USA) LLC only) - Conference Services will invoice the department for a flat fee of $250 for the creation and maintenance of the page once the registration is complete. Conference Services or the department can send the registration data, once processed on the University’s end, to the virtual conference provider through a data download/upload.

Event Production Equipment and Services

The following are University-wide Contracted Suppliers in the PantherExpress System for event production equipment and services. Visit each supplier information page for details about their products and services as well as how to place an order:

Catering and Restaurant Services

For Large Groups or Events

Compass is the preferred provider for catering large groups or events on the Pittsburgh Campus and is processed through the Pitt Catering Co. Any alcohol service on campus must be provided through catering. Review the following procedures and contact Conference Services for additional information. 

Catered Food and Beverage Deliveries for Small to Medium Sized Groups

Utilize America To Go to order catered food and beverages from local restaurants for small to medium sized groups, when paid for by the University. America To Go is a University-wide Contracted Supplier available through the PantherExpress System. Through America To Go (ATG) you can order everything from breakfast and lunch to break service for on-campus meetings and events from an approved list of outside caterers and restaurants meeting the University’s insurance and business requirements. ATG orders can be delivered by or picked up from participating restaurants, dependent on the options available from each vendor through the PantherExpress System punchout. 

Review this User Guide and FAQ to assist with placing orders through ATG for food and beverages for small to medium sized groups when paid for by the University.  

Remember, meals must comply with University Policy FN28. This policy has various requirements based on the meal purpose/type, including when a list of attendees (including their full name and affiliation) should be included. 

Contact America To Go Customer Service for assistance with orders: 

Catering and Restaurant Procedures

Type of Catering Procedure
Catering on-campus for large groups or events through Compass/Pitt Catering Co. Contact Conference Services. Invoicing will occur via interdepartmental charge and will appear on your level report. Compass/Pitt Catering Co. can provide catering drop off services on or within 5 miles of campus. 
Catering on-campus using a vendor other than Compass/Pitt Catering Co and vendors offered through America To Go
  1. Obtain an unsigned contract, the appropriate health department certification and Certificate of Insurance from the vendor (Conference Services is your resource for this).
  2. Submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecting "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type, along with unsigned contract, vendor health department certificate and Certificate of Insurance to have the contract reviewed and signed by Purchasing Services. Payment can be made by Travel Card or Check (see Payment Methods Flowchart for Conference & Event Agreement) 
On-campus food and/or non-alcoholic beverage deliveries for small to medium sized groups through America To Go Shop the America To Go punchout in the PantherExpress System and place your order. Review the User Guide and FAQ to assist with placing your order.

Food and/or non-alcoholic beverage deliveries either on or off campus (no servers/service - i.e. pizza or boxed lunches) using a vendor other than the vendors offered through America To Go

 

Preferred method of payment is the Travel Card. Then, reconcile the charge on an expense report in the Concur travel system. For other forms of payment contact Customer Service. No contract is required.
*Bartending service on Campus

Conference Services can provide bartending services if there is accompanying food services, however alcohol must be purchased, stored and transported by the client. Alcohol can be purchased through Soiree Partners and/or Dreadnought Wines (see the Soiree Partners and/or Dreadnought Wines section below for more information).  

For bartending services outside of Conference Services, submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecting "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type, along with a contract. Payment can be made by Travel Card or Check (see Payment Methods Flowchart for Conference & Event Agreement) 

Restaurant (group meal, regular menu) when the restaurant requires a contract. Submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecting "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type, along with a contract. Payment can be made by Travel Card or Check (see Payment Methods Flowchart for Conference & Event Agreement)
Food service for University-sponsored, off campus event, at a stated time with dedicated servers/staff Submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecting "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type, along with an unsigned contract. Payment can be made by Travel Card or Check (see Payment Methods Flowchart for Conference & Event Agreement)
Restaurant (group meal, regular menu) when the restaurant does not require a contract. Preferred method of payment is the Travel Card. Then, reconcile the charge on an expense report in the Concur travel system. For other forms of payment contact Customer Service. No contract is required.

Food truck on-campus where vendor does not require a contract and attendees will be responsible for payment.

No contracting needed. Obtain the appropriate health department certification and Certificate of Insurance from the vendor (Conference Services is your resource for this).

Food truck on-campus where vendor does not require a contract and the University will be responsible for payment.

No contracting needed. Department Travel Card can be used for payment which will be reconciled through Concur. Obtain the appropriate health department certification and Certificate of Insurance from the vendor (Conference Services is your resource for this).

Food truck on-campus where vendor requires a contract

Obtain an unsigned contract, the appropriate health department certification and Certificate of Insurance from the vendor (Conference Services is your resource for this). Submit a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecting "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type, along with unsigned contract, vendor health department certificate and Certificate of Insurance to have the contract reviewed and signed by Purchasing Services. Payment can be made by Travel Card or Check (see the Payment Methods Flowchart for Conference & Event Agreement).

*Conference Services will not provide bartenders for a campus event if there is not accompanying food service.

Soiree Partners and Dreadnought Wines

Soiree Partners is licensed in Pennsylvania to transport alcohol. Soiree Partners purchases spirits and some wine directly from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) stores, beer through local wholesale distributors, and most wine from a sister company, Dreadnought Wines.

Note: In order to legally purchase these products, Soiree must receive a check payment in advance (see purchasing instructions below), which the company then deposits and uses to make the requested purchases. This is the only legal process the PLCB permits in order for Soiree Partners to provide these services. Soiree Partners creates and delivers an estimate of sale in advance to customers which includes the delivery/pick up charges as well as a summary of the funds required to purchase wine, spirits and beer.

Dreadnought Wines is a wine importer and distributor. Dreadnought represents wines from smaller vineyards all over the world. The wine list is fairly extensive and includes wines in all price ranges and styles. Dreadnought works within the PLCB’s Special Liquor Order (SLO) system and is legally permitted to sell to the public and process each order through the SLO system.

Purchasing Instructions

Soiree Partners and Dreadnought Wines are licensed separately in the state of Pennsylvania. Thus they are required to invoice and be paid separately. Due to these requirements, departments should create two separate requisitions (by submitting a contract request within the PantherExpress System, selecteing "Conference & Event - Non-Hotel" as the contract type) when requiring the services of these two companies. Payment can be made by check or Travel Card following the instructions found in the Payment section of this page. 

Bartending Services Are Not Provided

Please note that neither Soiree Partners nor Dreadnought Wines provides bartending services. When contracting with Soiree and/or Dreadnought, please secure bartending services from Compass if the event is on campus and there is an accompanying food service or contract with a bartending service if the event is on campus but there is no accompanying food service.

Further Instructions and Contact Information

Event-related purchasing instructions can be found on the Conference & Event Agreement checklist. Contact Customer Service for further assistance.

Other Event Planning Resources