According to Loren Gold, executive vice president of the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Hotel sales managers have a multitude of different lead channels, so if they have four leads sitting on their desk, typically it’s the lead that has the most information that’s going to go on the top of the pile.” Guaranteeing that your RFP lands on the top of the pile and gets the speedy, thorough attention it deserves is all about providing the resources for the hotel to determine your meeting’s qualification, fit, and financial bottom line.
The key to creating a “hotel friendly” RFP lies in partnering with the convention and visitors bureau — the local destination expert — right from the start. And the fastest, most efficient way to reach out to CVBs is through empowerMINT.com, the virtual national sales office for the destination marketing industry.
Working with the destination’s CVB can ensure that your RFP gets priority by:
• educating you about the hotels in their destination so you are up to speed on all the lodging possibilities, typical rate structures, hotel locations and accessibility
• helping you understand the desirability and fit of your meeting for the different types of hotels
• discussing the seasonality and pattern preferences of the hotels, especially if lower rates are a priority or preferred date availability is an issue
• informing you of a conflict with another event or convention
• helping you tweak your RFP to be destination-specific
• helping you pull together your meeting histories
In addition, the CVB can suggest unique off-site venues for events and tell you about area attractions that will interest the meeting attendees. Having this knowledge could impact your meeting schedule and/or event program and thus affect your hotel RFP.
Once your RFP is complete, the CVB will distribute it only to the properties that you want to receive proposals from, be it one hotel or twenty, and follow up with them to be sure they are responding in a timely and complete manner. Your rep is happy to intercept hotel questions and collect proposals so you’re not inundated with unnecessary emails or phone calls.
Your CVB partner is your conduit to the local hospitality community, and, as the destination expert and your “inside” advocate, no one can ensure a faster, higher quality response from their hotel partners than the local CVB. The best part? All of this invaluable CVB assistance, support and insight is free. So start off your RFP process on the right foot, hand-in-hand with your CVB.