How To Write A Great RFP
A while back, I wrote a series called “Want Hotels To Want Your Business”. These blogs gave insight into ways to make your business more attractive to hotels bidding on your meetings and events. However, before they even bid on your business, you need to send the hotel a Request For Proposal (RFP). Here are a few tips on how to write a great RFP that will get the attention of your hotel sales manager.
1. Days / Dates / Pattern
State the days of the week with the corresponding dates of your meeting or event. Be sure to double-check that these are accurate, especially if they are for future years. Let the hotel know if you have alternate dates, flexibility on the dates noted or the pattern of the days of the week.
2. Meeting Space Needs
The more information you can provide on your meeting space needs the better. Give start and end times for all events. Include the estimated number of people for each meeting or banquet room needed. Specify the set up for the room along with any audio-visual needs.
3. Meeting / Attendee Profile
Give the hotel an overview of the meeting this will help them understand your needs even more. Tell them about the organization, the purpose of the meeting and some demographics on the attendees such as age and gender.
Include on your RFP where the group has stayed in previous years along with the dates, room block with final pick up and the room rates paid. If you have past food and beverage spend, and you should, note this too. You may be tempted to not include the room rates from previous years but keep in mind that in the current economy, hotels will likely be less than what you have paid in the past.
5. Concessions / Wish List
Hotels want to know up front what is important to you with regards to concessions and “hot buttons”. Are you more concerned with savings for your bottom line or for the out-of-pocket expenses for the attendees? The more you can let them know up front, the better. Hotels don’t like it when you spring on them two or three months into the process that you need a Presidential suite or complimentary shipping and handling. Don’t ask for things for the sake of asking.
6. Decision Process
Include on your RFP the decision process with a timeline. Let the hotel know if you need to do a site inspection prior to making a final decision. Are you looking at other destinations? Does a board need to vote on the options and if so, when will the board meet next?
There is still more information that can and should be included in your RFP. The Request For Proposal does more than communicate your needs to a hotel, it is a tool to show the hotel the value of your business. The more you can tell them about your business, the more aggressive the hotel will be to earn it.