5 Tips for Creating a Strong RFP for an Event or Meeting

By Sarah Reynolds Lasser

Colorado is a great year-round destination for a meeting or event. Utilize these best practices when creating an RFP to save you time and receive the most comprehensive responses and proposals from Colorado communities, hotels, venues and more.

Many Colorado ski areas can include lodging, meeting space and activities in their proposals. Courtesy Aspen Skiing Company.

Include alternate dates and patterns in your RFP – The more flexible you can be with a program, the more likely you will be able to place it in your preferred venue and destination. Share this information from the very beginning to reduce the amount of correspondence back and forth with the venues and ultimately streamline the conversation regarding date flexibility.

A beautiful outdoor patio and fire pit a the Inn at Aspen at the base of Buttermilk ski area. Courtesy Inn at Aspen.

Include event history for room rate and site rental fees – This history gives the Colorado venue or property a starting point to better understand what the program paid in the past and what a reasonable increase in cost might be for future years. The sales manager uses this information when they are advocating for your program in the revenue management review process.

The Little Nell is one of several Aspen properties that offer lodging and function space. Courtesy Aspen Skiing Company.

Include hot buttons and non-negotiable needs of the program – If your VIP absolutely must have a 1,000-square-foot suite with the perfect view of the mountains to entertain during the program, be sure to include it in your RFP. Do not leave out any pertinent information that will disqualify a venue or property. You will save yourself significant time by being transparent about the required aspects of the program from the very beginning of the RFP sourcing process.

A desire for outdoor options are important to list in an RFP. Courtesy Aspen Meadows Resort.

Include your budget for room rate and site rental fees for the year you are sourcing in your RFP – Suppliers always ask so they will have a starting point to begin negotiations or to offer you dates and patterns that will better fit a program’s budget. Colorado meeting and event suppliers want your business, and the budget can either quickly determine if their property or venue will be a fit or if you need to further discuss flexibility in dates.

Knowing the size of your group helps CVBs, DMOs and suppliers to present unique venue options. Courtesy Aspen Meadows Resort.

When sending your RFP, copy in the destination’s convention and visitors bureau (CVB) or destination marketing organization (DMO) – Tap into the intellectual expertise of the Colorado destination you are considering and take advantage of local knowledge. By engaging the CVB or DMO, you will streamline the sourcing process and gain access to potential booking incentives. You may not know everything about every destination you are considering, but there is an expert at the CVB or DMO who does know everything or knows how to find it on your behalf.

Aspen’s Gondola Plaza decked out for an event. Courtesy Aspen Skiing Company/Robin Proctor Photography.

Sarah Reynolds Lasser is Director of Sales for Destination Marketing at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. She enjoys traveling the world and lives the Aspen idea of mind, body and spirit.