Just as there is no shortage of ways of doing business, there are countless ideas across the industry for how to get your RFP the attention it deserves. Here are some of the best:
Director of Sourcing
On many of the tools, you can specify whether it’s mandatory or options to know the specifics of the meeting space, like square footage, ceiling height etc. You really don’t need to know this right away and demanding it right away could slow down the response.
Also, if your meeting doesn’t have to be on particular dates, put in checkboxes for each set of dates that you’d like the hotel to look into and add a comment like ‘please confirm that you’ve checked date options a, b and c,’ so you know availability.
Velvet Chainsaw Consulting
Planners need to be honest. Whether looking at five hotels or 25, a planner should say ‘here’s what we’re doing,’ and if I as a hotel am one of 25 and I don’t have a relationship with that planner already I’m probably going to decline the bid. Hoteliers are going to appreciate the honesty.
Additionally, planners need to express a willingness to be called or emailed, and not say, ‘the RFP has all of our information so there shouldn’t be any questions.’ And if you’re not willing to have all the hotels you solicit contact you then you’re not running a fair process, and you are failing to appreciate what the other side has to go through to respond to your request.
Vice President, Global Sales
We know planners are suffering time poverty but they have to make a commitment to be out in the industry. Striking up a relationship with a hotelier is the best way for a planner to get his or her needs, and those of the group, understood.
This falls to suppliers too. I’ve heard my colleagues complain that eRFPs have taken away the ability to build relationships, but my job is to have a relationship with the customer before their business gets to the lead stage. Junior salespeople need to understand that you don’t build relationships behind your desk. The people I see out most often are senior salespeople who have relationships already but they’re working to reinforce them.
MaryAnne P. Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, CHE
Bobrow & Associates
- Put something up front that will make the reader sit up and take notice, whether it’s a high number of sleeping rooms, large food and beverage spend, or similar items that make your RFP worth looking at for the hotel.
- Focus on your real needs and whether inclusion in the RFP is appropriate or not.
- Provide as much historical data regarding spend as possible. Be specific and honest about sleeping room rates that meet your budget. If your group can’t afford 5-star rates, say so.
- Pick up the phone. It seems we’ve all lost the art of communicating by telephone.
- Be realistic about the value of your piece of business and don’t ask for the world when you’re not entitled to a large number of concessions.
- Know the vendors you are seeking to do business with and incorporate win-win strategies for them. It may be that the person you are dealing with is inexperienced and may not recognize the value until it is pointed out; the ‘a-ha moment’, if you will.
- Keep it succinct.