And the THREE things you need to know are NOT just rates, dates and space. Although these three make the list, you need to know quite a bit more about your meeting requirements before you reach out to the destinations and hotels you are considering.
The key to ensuring a successful RFP response, regardless of the size of the meeting is doing your homework before you hit send. Armed with this checklist and a great partner, you will be well on your way to a quick response and a stellar meeting!
What You Need to Uncover Before Reaching Out to Hotels/Venues
- Internal Considerations
- Make sure you understand your meeting objectives and can communicate them in a clear and concise manner
- Get a feel for the type and style of meeting you are trying to create
- Determine room rate range and overall budget
- Zero in on preferred dates and alternatives
- Outline meeting space and food and beverage requirements
- Historical Information
- Find out what has worked and not worked from those involved in past meetings
- Obtain the meeting’s past history for 2-3 years including: rates, dates and space used
- Gather any other past information you can including; food and beverage menus, invoices, previous programs, etc.
- Decision Process and Time Line
- Establish your deadline for receiving responses
- Outline your decision process
- Decide when a decision will be made
You may be familiar with CVBs as the organization that promotes their destination to leisure travelers, but did you know they also have staff on hand ready to help in bringing meetings to their destination, no matter the size?
CVBs are non-profit organizations funded by those vested in the tourism industry and their services are free to all planners. They are destination experts and can help get you information on and connected to:
- Meeting Services
Additionally, CVB sales professionals assist planners throughout the RFP process. Before distribution, be sure to have your CVB expert review your RFP to ensure that it includes specific information the hotels in their destination are looking for. CVB sales professionals also help planners by:
- Being your facilitator and educator throughout the planning process
- Advocating for the complete picture of the organization/planners’ business
- Helping to set realistic expectations
- Educating the planner on understanding local demand factors
- Giving hotels the opportunity to put their best foot forward with the information they need
There are an abundance of resources online aimed at supporting the meeting planner. Below is a list of leading industry websites that offer resources, templates for RFPs, negotiation tactics, and other best practice tips.
- Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) empowerMINT.com
- Convention Industry Council (CIC)
- Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
- American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
- Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)