- You didn’t provide them with enough quality information about your meeting. According to many destination experts, this is the number one reason hotels don’t respond quickly to planner RFPs. If your RPF is missing valuable information, the hotel doesn’t have what it needs to follow-up with a quality proposal.
The solution: Provide a well-articulated RFP that describes your group’s needs, objectives and attendee profile, including the demographics of your group and your top priorities. In addition, make sure to always use an industry standard RFP form.
2. They’re overloaded with RFPs. Just like most businesses these days, many hotels are having to do more with less, so they may simply not have the manpower to handle the amount of inquires.
The solution: Cut back on hotel RFP volume by narrowing your choices down and set realistic deadlines your prospective properties. If longer lead times aren’t possible, ask for short-form responses to just five or six key questions.
3. Your meeting isn’t a good fit. Every hotel has a sweet spot when it comes to date patterns, room nights, space usage and food and beverage spend, so if your requested room rate is too low, for example, the hotel may not be in a rush to respond because you’re simply not a good match for their property.
The solution: Be flexible with dates and rates and be realistic about what you’re asking for. Remember, if you can be that piece of business that fills a need, you will not only be a more desirable piece of business for that hotel, you’ll also leverage more negotiating power when it comes time to discuss rates.
4. You didn’t provide a track record. If you don’t provide a complete meeting history, don’t have one or it isn’t consistent and you didn’t explain why, some hotels may worry your event is too risky for their bottom line.
The solution: Provide at least a three-year track record that includes room block night-by-night flow, meeting schedule, meal function and other food and beverage-related activities. Simply include an explanation if your history isn’t complete or consistent.
5. They’re already booked and you didn’t offer alternatives. If your RFP doesn’t demonstrate date flexibility, the hotel may not be in a rush to respond if they don’t have availability over that time period.
The solution: If possible, be flexible and include several sets of dates you’ll consider, including your first, second, third and even fourth choices for the right deal.
Now that I’ve given you five top reasons why hotels delay RFP responses and a few quick fixes, here’s one surefire way to ensure your RFP doesn’t get put to the bottom of the follow-up pile: work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau! Here’s what they can do to help make the RFP process easier, quicker and painless:
- Educate you on the range of hotels in their destination.
- Help you understand the desirability of your meeting for the different types of hotels.
- Educate you on the seasonality of their destination if lower rates are a priority.
- Reach out to your top choices and make sure those properties receive the right type of information in a complete, quality RFP.
- Collect and field hotel responses on your behalf so you’re not inundated with emails or phone calls.
So remember, when it comes to getting fast, quality RFP responses from hotels, there’s no better resource in any destination than the local CVB. With their local expertise, comprehensive view of the destination and extensive in-market relationships (all offered to you for free), you’re sure to find the perfect hotel for your next meeting or event. And that’s a win-win proposition!