"The CVB is your best first option to get your RFP not only noticed, but given a timely and competitive response."
It’s been a long and cold winter and spring is FINALLY here! To me, spring is a season of warm afternoons, longer days and fresh beginnings. A fresh beginning is exactly what we discussed last month when I moderated a session at Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI’s) Destinations Showcase. The topic? RFP Reconstructed: A Hands on Approach to Improving the Attractiveness of Your Meeting. It was an energetic and productive conversation and we all agreed it’s time for RFP’s to get their own fresh beginning.
We’ve been hearing it loud and clear; planners are frustrated. They are frustrated their RFP’s (Request for Proposal) are not getting the timely, complete, and competitive response they deserve. We also know hotels are seeing a triple digit increase in the number of RFP’s they are receiving. What’s the solution? I recommend before hitting send, you involve the CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) sales professional in the destination(s) you are considering. The CVB is your best first option to get your RFP not only noticed, but given a timely and competitive response.
Evaluating Your RFP
There are two factors to consider before sending your RFP. First: the basic information to include in your RFP that a hotel needs to give a competitive response. Second: what other information to include and who can help get RFP to the top of the heap.
A great resource to ensure your RFP has the basic information is the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (CIC/APEX) workbook. The workbook includes an overview of the five key components every RFP should include: Event Profile, RFP Information, Room Block, Event History and Event Space Requirements.
A few helpful items discussed during the session that will help get your RFP the attention it deserves:
- If possible, allow at least 48 hours for the hotels to respond.
- Include if you have any flexibility in your dates. Hotels will most likely always respond when you have some flexibility.
- Be sure to include the organization’s decision time frame.
- Provide a realistic rate range for the hotel’s to work with.
- Include at least three years of history. If one year was an anomaly, it’s better to include with an explanation than nothing at all.
- Indicate event space requirements, but place the most important items first.
While it’s important to include the basic information in your RFP, experience shows it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the responses you’re looking for. With the inundation of RFP’s hotels are receiving, and adding to it the up to 45 minutes it takes to complete them, you need an advocate.
How CVB’s Help Make the Whole RFP Process Better for Both Planners and Hotels
I feel there isn’t anyone better suited to assist you in getting your RFP a timely and competitive response than the CVB.
- As local experts, the CVB sales professional will work with you to include or eliminate hotels/venues that have the potential to be the best fit for your meeting.
- As the destination expert, the CVB will advise you about local demand factors which could affect the attractiveness of the meeting, such as arrival/departure patterns, local events, citywide conventions, etc.
- They will advocate for your meeting and ensure the hotels understand your meeting and the organization’s value.
- By acting as a facilitator, the CVB sales professional will intercept hotel questions and collect RFP responses so you aren’t inundated with emails and phone calls.
The influx of RFP’s hotels are receiving isn’t going to go away. Thus, as the industry adjusts to the new reality of RFP overload, involving the destination’s CVB will ensure your RFP stands the best chance to get a timely and competitive response. That I feel is the best fresh beginning!