Tips For Putting Together A Great RFP

When used properly, an RFP (Request for Proposal) is a great tool for attracting bids for your meeting or event.  Putting together a properly detailed RFP is not only essential in the meetings industry, it will also help you to procure the most qualified suppliers.

But what is an RFP, anyway, you ask? Quite simply, it is a “Request For Proposal.” It is in no way binding and in the case of our website, it is a way you can get a bid for your meeting or event from multiple suppliers with one request. An RFP indicates to a meeting planning professional at a hotel or service provider that you are seriously considering the need for function space. This way, they can sharpen their pencil and give you their best rate for you to consider when it is time to make the plans solid.

Follow the tips below and, when you’re ready, submit an RFP for your next Colorado event.

1)  Consider your RFP Recipients.  Suppliers are motivated to respond to an RFP if they feel as though they have a real shot at earning your business.  If they look at the list of RFP recipients and notice that they are one of five suppliers to receive your RFP, they have a 20% chance of earning your business.  If however a supplier sees that they are one of 20 recipients of your RFP, their chance of earning your business is much less.  Considering that the average time spent on lead responses is 90 minutes, sales managers are more likely to devote their time and effort to RFP’s with smaller recipient lists.

2)  Take the time to fill out RFP forms as accurately and thoroughly as possible.  The more information you provide, the better.  Try to think of any questions the supplier might have for you and provide that information in your RFP.   Describe your group, your needs and objectives, and your attendee profile.  What is your organization and it’s mission?  What kind of meeting or event is it?  What are the demographics of your group?  What are your top priorities (budget, activities, accessibility, etc)?

3)  Provide as many meeting specifics as possible including the meeting schedule(s), type of seating and number of rooms and seats needed, meals, technology/audiovisual requirements, transportation needs, etc.  If this is a reoccurring meeting, attach a copy of specifications from most recent one as a guideline.  If certain items are non-negotiable, be sure to include that as well.

4) Be sure to provide your lodging requirements in detail.  Requesting “50 rooms for 2 nights” is not specific.  Suppliers need to know the number and type of rooms your group requires for the duration of your stay from arrival to departure.  This enables the supplier to provide you with the most customized and affordable quote for your room charges.  They are otherwise likely to over quote you so that they have some wiggle room if rates change.

5)  What’s your history?  Suppliers will prioritize groups based on event consistency and history in terms of location, number of attendees, and lodging requirements.  If for example your meeting takes place once a year with the same details, a supplier will feel confident that you have a good track record and the .  If you have history with prior suppliers, include that information.  If you don’t have a track record, explain why in your RFP.  If a track record or explanation is not provided, some suppliers may feel that your event is too much of a risk to their bottom line.

6)  Try to be flexible.  If your dates and requirements are flexible, be sure to mention that in your RFP.  If a supplier sees that they are not able to accommodate the dates you have specified, they may not respond to your RFP.  If however they see that you are flexible, they may be able to negotiate better rates and respond with a more attractive proposal.  Groups with flexibility typically demonstrate a willingness to work with the property which makes them desirable to work with.